Friday, April 19, 2013

Ordering Our Steps

Just so we are clear

The day after Easter Sunday there was a post on Facebook celebrating the fact that "Easter was over" so now it was time to get back to "normal things." 

But I digress.

At least as far as normal life returning is the scattering and the struggle of Spring breaking through its shyness on life's stage, so that Winter doesn't hog it all. Spring is about rebirth and renewal, allowing your heart and spirit to shine each and every brand new morning. Perhaps even time to shed the grayness and the shadows and stepping out into the beauty of Creation.

Whispering in the background is "sabbatical or self" care; I decided to do something that I do on occasion and with celebrating Spring, I bought myself something cute. These wedges apparently are all the rage; walking in them down rain soaked streets was slightly difficult placing my very being in an awkward position until a rhythm is established. It placed me outside of my comfort zone, which in a nutshell carries my paths in this: 

Worn, reliable and steady these have carried me happily connecting with Creation; digging me within the good, deep Earth and allowing my being to always being immersed in Baptism, comforted by the familiar.

Yet what has changed? Regardless of where our steps or how they are wrapped, The Holy  Spirit surrounds us, energizing our souls and empowering in the ways that The Creator has lovingly and continues to guide us where God wishes us to be, even if we stumble and struggle finally into a rhythm where we stride through flowing, tall grasses graceful as if to say, "I am a Child of God."

This past Monday afternoon, we gathered with our hearts bare and yet open to what our reaction would be as the stone rolled away and we were faced with the vision of the empty tomb in the form of Internship Assignment envelopes. Would we dance and weep at the sight, too overjoyed for words or would we run away, confused and chaotic? 

As the water flowed from the font in Augustana Chapel even in its noisiness we were reminded that regardless of where we were being sent on Internship this summer, God goes before us and the Risen Christ remains with us on this journey.

We are placing our feet into new shoes, where sometimes our feet have to get used to how it feels or how weirdly we may carry ourselves...until we are assured and proudly, march on.

Lape Bondye, God's Peace.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Soon and Very Soon

One of the things no one mentions before starting seminary is that once you've been in countless hours of classes, chapel services, and congregational visits, the soundtrack to your life starts to sound a lot like a collection of hymns.

Or maybe that's just me.  A few weeks ago when uncertainty was filling my thoughts, my soundtrack-for-the-day song was "You Are Mine."  On a day when I was contemplative about the journey, the track was "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me."  And now, a mere 72 hours away from my internship assignment, my the track that is on repeat is, "Soon and Very Soon."

The process of preparing for internship is filled with excitement, nervousness, and a bit of uncertainty.  Last fall when I was at my endorsement panel (one of several steps as a candidate for ordination) I remember talking to clergy from my home synod, brainstorming about what type of sites may be the perfect blend of nurture and challenge.  It seemed so surreal at the time, almost as if the day would never come.  Now, it is merely a breath away.

I am starting to realize the complexity that comes with embracing the internal and external part of this process.  As my friends who are seniors are preparing for first call, and now here in the midst of internship assignment myself, there are moments that can seem that we have no control at all.  While the uncertainty can make us feel this way, in reality that is something very different.

I have often associated control with picking where I would go, choosing where I would live.  These things at this point are truly out of my hands.  But I do have control on how I choose to enter that unknown environment, what stories and gifts I choose to share about myself, the trust I place in God and God's workers who decide my placement. 

I also have control to consciously remember that in a week the uncertainty I feel today will look very different.  This moment in time is temporary.  Soon and very soon I will be connecting with my future supervisor, brainstorming about what ministry will look like in a place that I will call home that is not a phantom mist on some generic highway.

Look out, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Nevada, Missouri, or Arkansas.  Soon and very soon, one of you is going to be my home. 

I know. But.

I know.... but......
I know today is not my 'day' to blog, but I'm blogging anyway. :)

I know that I live in WI, but I do a double take when I am home and see WI license plates.

I know that Easter Sunday is 'over' but everyday is Easter- Alleluia!

I know that I survived first semester of Seminary, but surprisingly second semester is nearing an end. YIKES!

I know that spring brings summer flowers, but it also brings road construction, lane closures and slow traffic.

2005- Dad Turns 65- Dad & his Grandsons
I know that seminary has provided one of the most awesome support groups as I deal with my dad's death, but nothing.

Luke 24:5. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen.

The sun is coming up, the stone has been rolled away and Jesus is risen.  It is a new day!  Jesus shows once again how his presence on earth is counter cultural to what is expected.  People expect Jesus to die, and 'stay dead'.  Thanks be to God, Jesus did not 'stay dead.'  He walked among people who walked with him, who learned from him, who ate with him.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Life after Seminary

So, I spent my weekend visiting a parish.  Not visiting some place to fulfill some class requirement or to prepare for the next step of seminary, I visited a congregation which will one day be my first call as an ordained pastor.

So, that's happening.

I drove down with my wife, Andrea, as well as another seminarian who's also going to be joining me as a resident pastor for the next two years in the Quad Cities.  It's so surreal to think that, even though there are classes to finish and papers to write, the two of us have already been called to serve our first congregation.

Soon, this word will be synonymous with "Home."

It's almost like this whole seminary thing is about to wrap up.  I feel like it was only recently that I began this whole process and visited LSTC as a prospective student (Where, oddly, I met my new/future resident-pastor colleague).  The visit this weekend was a good first taste of what's to come in that congregation, but more than anything it made me realize that my time at LSTC is almost over - that May 19th is just over a month away - that soon I will be a pastor.

There will be more time to reminisce in the weeks and months to come.  Right now, though, I feel incredibly grateful for the time I've spent at LSTC, where I truly feel as if I've been prepared to go and do this job I've now been officially called to do.  And, as I wrap up my final classes, I know that even when the symptoms of senioritis are in full force, I'm still being prepared, and this place will still be teaching me until I hand in my final paper.  In fact, this place may in some way still teach and prepare me beyond that.  LSTC has changed me, and that is a wonderful thing.