Nearly Finished, Looking Back
In the midst of serving at my Parish Field Assignment from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday, and everything in between, I found myself reflecting on where I've been on this journey through formation.
It was five years ago on Maundy Thursday that I first attended a service at an Episcopal Church. Growing up Roman Catholic, it was not an easy thing to leave, but I could no longer accept the practice of excluding people from full inclusion. The Jesus I know from the New Testament welcomed all people to his table, even his betrayer Judas.
I was never divorced, I wasn't a woman wanting to be ordained, I'm not gay wanting to be accepted or married, but the exclusion of all of these groups of people troubled my heart and soul. I could no longer stay in a Church that included me, but excluded others. Jesus opened the Kingdom of God to everyone, tearing down walls formed by man-made religious rules that separated people from each other.
I start thinking that I am somehow the subject of a joke by God, but I just haven't heard the punchline yet. It is times like these my mind jumps to the character Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. My Tevye prayer would be "OK God! I don't get it yet! Are you going to tell me, or do I have to wait?"
Now in my last semester at School for Deacons, I have completed (34) School Weekends, with (2) weekends left to go. I have no idea how I've made it this far except by the grace of God. Thirty-four three-week cycles of homework, all in the midst of work and family crises, and challenged along the way with doubts and fears.
How have I done it? Perseverance is one piece of it, learning to live in one 3-week homework cycle at a time; Fellowship with my fellow seminarian, a woman who has as much stubbornness and drive as me--perhaps more!; The greatest asset of all, however, has been clinging onto faith and trusting that God is leading me on this path and is walking with each of us.
For the last couple weeks I have been re-reading "Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons" by Ormonde Plater. I read this book at the beginning of this journey trying to understand deacons. Now, after 3 years of intensive training I read it again with a new perspective, and new understanding.
Where am I going? I don't know. What is my 'calling'?" I haven't a clue! What will I do? I haven't the foggiest notion. Perhaps in walking this part of the path for the last three years, trusting in God over a long period, I have come to the point of not spending so much time worrying about the future, and instead living in this day--this present--this gift of 'now'. This is one of the hallmarks of the Kingdom of God: trusting that God will lead us to the future, heal us from the past, and walk with us in the present.
I believe that Jesus' message of love is filled with joy! If you're not laughing with God at least some of the time, you're missing something in life! I am so blessed to have found the "Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement". Peace and love!!
Note: Painting by Henry O Tanner
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