Monday, November 15, 2010

Something New

by Jenny

I gave my “Lutheran sermon” yesterday at the church I grew up in. It was quite a special experience. When I spoke with the pastor last week, he mentioned that this church, like many small congregations, is facing the possibility that it may not be around much longer. That is in part why he invited me to preach—he believes it’s important for the congregation to see the “fruit” that has come out of it, even if it ends up closing.

I had some mixed emotions after that talk. It was sad to think about this congregation maybe not being there much longer. Even though I haven’t regularly attended there since high school, it was a big part of my life, and has always supported me. I also felt a little bit of pressure to deliver a powerful sermon, since I’m supposed to be something this church can feel proud of!

Added to that bit of healthy pressure was the interesting passage that came up in the lectionary last week: Luke 21:5-19. What are the odds that my first time preaching at a liturgical church I would get a passage on persecution, destruction, famine, betrayal, etc.?

After a week of prayer and preparation, everything went well. I am thankful that God inspired the sermon, and people were blessed by it. I am also thankful that there is a community of people who support me in following God’s call without reservation, no matter how long I’ve been away. And I’m especially thankful for new opportunities like this that help me to see the reality of ministry in new ways.

Working on this passage about persecution, along with thinking about the tough situation this church is in, reminds me of what we’re studying in my class on Jeremiah. The call to preach God’s word isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to deliver a tough word, to people in difficult circumstances. Sometimes the hope we are called to proclaim isn’t quite the answer people were hoping for. And there are no guarantees as to where God’s call will lead us. Yet through it all God promises to always be with us and sustain us.

I definitely saw that as I stepped into a role a little outside of my comfort zone. I wasn’t familiar with all the ceremonial aspects of the service, and I wasn’t sure if they would be able to find a robe short enough for me (they did)! Yet trusting that God had called me to be there gave me peace and confidence to go through with something a little bit different. I’m glad I did, and look forward to the next unexpected opportunity that comes my way.


Post a Comment

<< Home