Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is…you have to put aside the observations, opinions, perceptions, ideas and pressing concerns to say how you really feel. Yes, at times when you read something like I'm about to write makes you feel like a voyeur…you're peeking into someone's heart in a personal, almost intimate manner. But my friends, sometimes that's not a bad thing to do. Sometimes it's actually important to do because amidst all the hecticness and superficiality of what most people call "life", there are those of us who feel deeply, love others personally and want others to know that there is a Source and Spirit in life that gives us not only "eyes to see and ears to hear" but a heart to feel and emotions to enjoy and celebrate.
So…on to the love – yesterday was one of those days that I'll remember and cherish for the rest of my life. It was really the culmination of over 8 years of seeking God in prayer. You know, that type of prayer where you feel like you are pulling requests to God out of the fabric of your gut…deep prayer. The kind that the bible says are, well, you read it yourself. This is Romans 8:26:
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
That's the type of prayer I'm talking about…well, back to the story. The day began with our first worship experience at our new faith community (Peace in Monroe, Washington)…I've made some comments before about these people and the miraculous series of events that led to our planting of roots in a new community and embedding ourselves in lives of people who are not only our new friends but comrades in spiritual arms as we bring the presence of the Kingdom of God to bear in and through all we do and are in this part of the country. The worship was sweet…there was laughter, singing, prayer…the seats were filled with new friends and "old" friends some of who traveled from our old stomping grounds in Meridian to join us. THAT, was an honor bestowed on us that I will never forget…THAT is a taste of eternity….a window to the soul of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Then, and I'm skipping alot here, there was an Installation worship experience in the afternoon…installing a pastor is a time-honored tradition in the Lutheran denomination. In some ways, it is a bit awkward for the one being "installed" because ministry in a local faith community really isn't all about the pastor. The service would be better if the rubric for the day was more of a "marriage" ceremony because the Reverend (in this case me) and the congregation (in this case my new pals in Monroe) are now "blessed" by the broader Christian community in a new relationship gladdened with expectation, anticipation and, in which, there is hope for new and big things ahead. It really is a public covenant – a promise to serve, challenge, exhort and share love in Jesus not just for the sake of the relationship but as a witness of something bigger in life…for community is a glimpse (just as marriage is) of the mystery of God's incredible love and desire for relationship with us. Anyway, there were robbed clergy, dear friends, members of congregations from around our district…made for a glorious time in my life. My Tracking Buddies (you know who you are!) were there blessing me with their friendship, smiles and amazing affirmation…my Friendship pals were there with their prayer-filled support…without divulging too many specific, big Warren "Shoe" did the sermon for the day and not only stroked one out of the park but left me in tears of peace (it really is all about Jesus, my friend). There are too many people to acknowledge and thank…too many hugs I feel like I didn't have time to give…too many hands I couldn't get to in order to bless…but that goes with the territory. Two other highlights – the mystery of the "laying on of hands" – I can't explain it, not too many can, but there is power released in the prayer of those who lay on hands – each pastor present did a blessing over me…I can't even think about it without still feeling moved. That I'll remember for the rest of my life. Then there was the reception put together by new pals with love – my favorite cake, good conversation, laughter in the room…it is ALL good! Then, it was back to the house for some hours (few that they may be in this instance) to soak it all in…still doing that for in many respects, yesterday's events were like a soaking rain…it's going to take a while for my soul to fully comprehend and live out all of what drenched my life in one day.
So, that's it – I would say more but you might get bored…I might post a pic or two on Facebook soon…so for those of you who are my FB friends, keep an eye out! OH, and ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING HAPPENED YESTERDAY – our daughter got engaged. Yep, the ring was popped and the question was posed (or is it the reverse, I don't know). The story was shared and mom and dad and we were blessed by that too…
I said it before on this blog and in my life…it was mentioned yesterday in many ways and by different people – it really is all about Jesus and His love and grace and mercy. It's hard to really say more than that when I think about it. So, without further ado, I'll stop right there!