Updated: Jul 17
Recently I found a copy of the bulletin from the worship service in which I was ordained elder in 2006. It was in a large stack of papers I have been going though as I settle the estate of my Aunt Mary, who died in April. Reading through that bulletin reminded me of the “duties” of an elder in the church:
“An elder is called to share in the ministry of Christ and of the whole church:
to preach and teach the Word of God
to faithfully administer the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion
to lead the people of God in worship and prayer
to lead persons to faith in Jesus Christ
to exercise pastoral supervision
to order the life of the congregation
to counsel the troubled
to declare the forgiveness of sins
to lead the people of God in obedience to mission in the world
to seek justice, peace, and freedom for all people, and
to take a responsible place in the government of the Church and in service in and to the community.
Finding that bulletin reminded me of a few very important things:
Family is so important—whether they are with you in the moment or not. For me family is both my family of origin and the family I have found in the Church. Many of my family have now joined the Communion of Saints, but I believe they still reach out to me with love and support from the great cloud of witnesses.
Calling is universal—God calls everyone to something, and we can get so busy that we forget what it is to which we’ve been called. But even in our business, that call is still there.
Response is up to us—whether or not we say yes to whatever calling we discern AND how we live into a yes to a calling is up to us. We have to just do it.
Finding that bulletin is another reminder for me that God has called me to a life of ministry. Finding photos along with it of family members who have gone before me is another reminder that they are not gone completely or forever. They continue to pray with and for us, even and especially in hard times.
This week, the church staff is beginning “Office Hours” at the church when a couple of us at a time will be present at the church building (outside of it, actually, at the portico by the Family Life Center) to wave and speak to you, pray with you, receive your checks or anything else you’d like to bring to the church, and to share a moment of in-person fellowship. We know it doesn’t replace in-person worship, but we miss you and we know you are missing being together. Come by and say, “Hi,” and help me continue to live into my calling and ordination promise and other staff members live into their calling and work, and let us pray with you and listen to you, even if for only a few minutes.
Pay attention to the reminders, friends. God is sending us little notes all around that remind us of God’s love and care for us and for all of creation, of the importance of educating ourselves about the world and our place and work in it, and about the life-giving connection in the Body of Christ, even when we’re dispersed and deployed.
What is God reminding you of today?