A prayer for the road

I often process slowly, so I was in my first semester of seminary (as I write this I realized it’s been 6 and a half years already!) and I had no idea why I was there.  I’d graduated college and felt like I kinda sorta should maybe go to seminary because I wanted to do something ministry related… maybe.  Maybe that could even be a pastor — though that desire and call was more audacious than I dared to believe. Truth be told, I was feeling pretty lost and unsure.   I found myself in a class everyone was required to take called ‘Vocation of Ministry’ that a Dr. Steve Harper was teaching.  I remember sitting there hearing this humble, grace and Spirit-filled man who was oozing of wisdom, speaking words that spoke to me on a level that I never had experienced anyone speaking on.  I remember him sharing the above prayer from Thomas Merton that affected me.  I distinctly remember sitting in that class and thinking  “This is where I’m supposed to be.”  As I reflect, I’m very thankful for that time of my life and the people in it — it was indeed the place I was supposed to be.

This prayer has spoken to me throughout the years.  It’s spoken to me in different ways and for different reasons and around different circumstances and roads.  This prayer has spoken again to me this new year.  The new year always makes me pensive.  It typically brings with it the sense of new roads, adventures, situations, emotions, and possibilities. Excitement and uncertainty. Dreams and fears.  So I share this prayer with you as one that I think is incredibly powerful and liberating — whether you know exactly where you’re going (or what you’re doing or feeling), you think you know, or you have no idea.  Rest in that God is ever with you this new year and always.

Esther

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Show off, God

In reading Church history and current news, hearing stories, and experiencing things in my several years in ministry, I don’t know how the Church has lasted as long as it has.   That’s not true, I do.  I do because I personally, frequently pray to God that God work despite me.  And thanks be to God, God does.  The Holy Spirit is why the Church has lasted and will continue to live – despite us.

As we prepare to launch a new service at Trinity, this prayer comes to mind.  Not because I don’t think it’ll be awesome.  Not because we don’t have a talented, hard working team.  Not because we haven’t been diligent and worked hard for months to prepare for this launch.  I’m really excited about this new service and I’m really proud of the hard-working Modern Worship team.  Yet, my prayer is that God show off.  I’ve noticed in my own life that God’s dreams are often more audacious and grander than anything I can come up with.  I’ve seen in my own life that God speaks words of healing to people through some of my worst sermons.  I’ve experienced that on days that I feel particularly inadequate God somehow uses me to offer words of encouragement and love.   So, I pray that despite our best efforts, God shows off even more.  The truth is that the best that we can wish for this service (or any ministerial endeavor) is tiny compared to how much God wants us to accomplish transformational things with the help of the Holy Spirit.  The truth is that all of the stuff that’s worthwhile is accomplished by God and not by me.  So my prayer is and will continue to be that God be glorified, and that people come to know God’s transforming love, grace, redemption, and mercy.  God, show off – amen.

-Esther

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