By now, information should have reached you about the next chapter in my ministry. If it has not, I have been selected as the candidate to be the next General Presbyter for Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery. The presbytery will vote on May 31 at the Tri-Presbytery meeting in Oklahoma City and I would start June 1. This is a journey that I begin with much excitement and with great sadness over leaving Southminster. This is a church that Kati and I love. It is a place that we have found to be a home and a home for our boys. This was a process filled with a lot of prayers and tears, but it is where I believe God is calling me to serve the larger church, including Southminster.
One of the words you have heard a lot from me over the last three years is that word “call”. “What is your call?” “How are you fulfilling your call?” “What might God be calling you to do today?” In a reformed, Presbyterian faith that stresses the priesthood of all believers, call is central to our identity. It is the place where our gifts and possibilities meet God’s plan for our lives and the needs of the world. It is there that we are faithful, not just to a moral or ethical code, but to God’s will for us in our whole like. Discerning how we are called (along with actually doing it), becomes one of the central aspects of our discipleship. Faith is more than mere theological assent, it is prayerful action in the world.
The Lenten devotional book we have been reading in the adult Sunday School class has touched on this topic many times already in Lent. The title even speaks to the theme: A Way Other Than Our Own by Walter Brueggemann. In Lent, particularly, as we introspectively look at the state of our faith lives, we encounter anew God’s leading. In Lent, we become aware of the distance between where we are and where God is and is going. Often we are called to a way other than our own.
It is also the biblical story. It is the call and response of Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, of disciples and apostles, Peter, Paul, and James. It is the story of Jonah running away from his own call only to finally fulfill it. It is the Good Samaritan feeling the call to help and responding. Our lives are filled with these questions. How do we go? Where do we go? Where is God calling us now?
I told somebody the other day I could not preach and teach about call if I was not willing to follow that call as well. As Lent continues, Easter approaches, and the journey of faith continues for each of you, I hope you find and follow your call too.