Posts Tagged With: discernment

Praying My Future

I started seminary the fall after I graduated college.  I moved across the country and, as it happened, away from a Church situation that was…unhealthy…for me.  It had been difficult for more than a year before I left.  I felt I had little community at my Church; I was not being fed spiritually. I even thought about switching denominations.  I couldn’t.  I wanted and needed a better community.  And I was about to move 2,000 miles away from the support I did have.

With no way to fix the situation I was in and no control over what would come, I prayed.  I started with no idea which seminary I would attend and no information about my future classmates.  Knowing that another unhealthy community would nearly kill my life in this Church I loved and wanted to serve, I prayed.  For my classmates, for how our community would be, for who we would be and become together.  For eighteen months,  I prayed my future, in blind faith that it might be true.

There was a moment where I knew.  Knew that seminary, along with all of its challenges, would be better, would feed me.  I kept praying–to remind God and myself.

One of the most frequent questions I hear (and I suspect most priests hear) is about the purpose and efficacy of prayer.  Do we pray to a God who listens?  A God who answers?  Why are there fewer miracles?  Why are so many prayers unanswered? Our  answers are tepid at best.  Of course God listens, wants to answer.  Miracles were likely natural cures in a time without scientific understanding.  ‘No’ is an answer.  We have to trust that God knows what we need better than we do.  Prayer is a meditative exercise meant to change us.  Worst of all: Miracles are knowledge of the presence of God.

I don’t know.  My prayers are often unanswered.  I have not witnessed a miracle, God’s intervening action in the world.  It often seems that I am praying into a void or as some sort of meditative exercise not communication with the God who calls me beloved.

But I also know that my seminary class was a healthy community where I was nurtured and healed.

For the past eighteen months I have been again been praying my future, from long the first moment I knew my time there was coming to an end.  I prayed for my Churches as I always had.  I also prayed for the Church that was calling me as their priest.  Long before I started searching, long before I had any idea where I would be looking, I prayed.

I prayed for their discernment, for my discernment, for the palpable movement of the Holy Spirit.  As I discerned with different Churches, I added prayers for them specifically.    As I kept looking, as the months stretched out, as I heard “not you,” as friends started to delightedly announce new positions and I had nothing to announce.  I prayed.

Now, after so many prayers:

I am delighted to announce that I have been called as the next rector of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Edmonton.

Categories: Church, My Life, Priest's Life, Theology | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Leaning

I wrote the last post when I should have been packing. I haven’t written since because I’ve been trying to keep up with those things I should have and need to do. But also, I’ve feared, because right now all of the words are hard to write.

It is still easy to slip out of the now of my life and let grief about the past or anxiety about the future become too much. I’ve been and I will continue leaning.

Leaning on my friends and family. Sometimes I lean and others prop me up. Some days that’s the only way I’ve kept standing: knowing they were there, hearing their voices, conversations over Facebook and Twitter. Then there are the friends with whom we all lean into each other. Simultaneously supported and supporting.

Leaning on my God and my faith. Trusting that the time I’ve spent leaning into this holy work that I love is not lost. And leaning even more on the believe that it is part of a foundation for the marvelous things that are coming, of which I can only begin to dream and imagine.

And next?

This summer I have the privilege and joy of serving as the Director of our Diocesan Camp. This is a delightful coming home to a place and ministry I’ve worked in, with, and otherwise supported over the last 14 years. And it is an amazing place to be fed with energy, hopes, and dreams of a community.

My apartment was in an old building, with thick walls. This meant we stayed cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It also meant that our threshold was thick. It created a wonderful drop off spot for packages (books!) but crossing it was an act of deliberation. I could stand half in, leaning half out, pondering how icy it was or how badly the dog needed a walk in the rain.

Sometimes thresholds are easy to cross. Easily navigable points of transition. Other times, thresholds are a slow liminal space.

I am moving across this threshold slowly. I was there, I am here and discerning. Praying and seeking and listening. Leaning into the future.

And reminding myself of the proverb: “God draws straight with crooked lines.”

For now, for this space, here’s what I know. I will be preaching on an odd schedule of fits and starts this summer, so sermons and sermon reviews won’t happen as they have. I have found my discipline of partaking in other’s sermons too rewarding to stop. So look for more Sermon Round-ups with some regularity (hopefully but not certainly weekly). Other posts will happen as I can eke out minutes and words–much like they always have.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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