Good morning all! We have just a few days left of Advent! Crazy!
Today’s scripture: 2 Samuel 7:18-22 (NRSV)
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God; you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God!Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
I have had a few hours to ponder this morning. I got up way earlier than I normally do to take a friend to the airport. I filled up my to go cup with coffee and we grumbled to each other as she got in my car. We immediately put music in and chatted sparsely as we drove. We said our goodbyes and gave hugs. I drove off. I listened to more music while I thought about the morning and people starting their days. I thought about what I would do today and how to prep more for the week that is to come.
I thought about how crazy it is that I am a pastor, to be honest. Never thought I would be in this place. Never thought Advent would mean what it does to me now…anticipation mixed with work….joy mixed with anxiety of the season….moments of day to day life mixed with extraordinary moments that I get to be a part of. The variety that is church life. Never thought I would be so passionate about what I do.
I thought about the fact that I get to constantly ask…where am I called? Who am I? It is a healthy thing to ask, especially on early morning drives. I am especially asking these questions as I switch from music to NPR and the first story that I hear is about Pastor Schaefer’s “defrocking.” This is a pastor in the United Methodist Church who has lost his credentials as an ordained elder for presiding at his son’s wedding in 2007. There is a soundbite of Pastor Schaefer saying that he will not stop ministering and will appeal the decision of the church.
I have to admit to you all that I am concerned (and heartbroken) about all of this. I see a possible division on the horizon and I am hoping that God will walk alongside us. I have to constantly question if I can help create change within. I am distraught that we would take away credentials of a pastor for a same sex marriage. I am especially distraught at how this all has gone down…trial, conflict, awful comments on either side. I am distraught that love is questioned and that in the United Methodist Church we haven’t moved forward. These moments make me question my calling…what I am called to do…and if I can keep doing it. And I won’t even get into the whole Duck dynasty thing….
At the same time, I am still so in love with my church. I love that community happens. I am passionately called to reclaim Gospel and heal those places where the Church has been so isolating and destructive. And I am so Wesleyan still through and through. And I truly believe that Jesus will break through again after much anticipation and waiting to heal, restore, and transform.
These are the big questions of Advent. Who are we as called people of God? Can we still sing out prayers of gratitude in the midst of deep questioning like King David? God still calls us to who we are as whole people. To still have the conversation. To still question who we are and where we go. To still reach out to God’s people in the midst of division.
I don’t have the answers but am grateful for the season and the place to ponder. Blessings to you as you struggle too.