October 4, 2009


This blog is two years old today, and what I wrote at the beginning is still true. Right now, I do not have a title or position or location that would commonly be considered a pastoral ministry. But even so, I do have that work; I am a minister. In these days when our community is so wounded, when relationships and trust are so shattered, when grief is overshadowed only by horror and disbelief, there are many who need a pastoral presence but do not know how or where to find it. It was this way after 9-11. Remember all those people who came to church those Sundays in September and October 2001, people who hadn't been in worship in years? They needed solace, care and community. Some of us need that now, too, and I encounter many who do not know where to go for help. So I go to them. I sit, I listen, I try to hear the fear that is under the words they speak. I do town meetings to talk about "security," but what I am really trying to do is to be a non-anxious presence.

In the eleven years since I was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, I have often worried about whether I would have a church. I don't worry about that today. Today, I know that my congregation is the world, that my calling is not to gather people in some Sunday morning sanctuary, but rather to go to the places of pain and confusion, fear and failure, sorrow and woe, to go where the people are in need and make a sanctuary there.

The prophet Isaiah (61:1-2) spoke words that found fulfillment in Jesus: "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me....to bind up the brokenhearted,.... to comfort all who mourn." May these holy words, spoken to me at my ordination, continue to guide my work, my ministry, and give me strength and courage to be faithful to this odd calling that is mine.

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