Through The Waters

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2)

I had previously shared that my January was going to be intense and nuts and just a wreck; and certainly it was. We had two m-a-j-o-r budget processes to complete between Christmas and the beginning of February; I certainly hadn’t planned to come down with bronchitis and an ear infection in the middle of it, or deal with some family matters, but those added to the pressures of the month.

Which brings us to the week just ended. Monday we released the 2020 spend plan to Congress, on time and complete. Wednesday and Thursday we were on the Hill briefing staff about the spend plan; then tomorrow we release the 2021 President’s Budget, again on time and complete. (Watch this space on Monday night for our 2021 work to show up.) I am beyond proud of our team at my Day Job for all they did to get us there.

And I am beyond amazed at the God who got me through it all.

As I write I am at the Orlando airport after a quick weekend class, part of my seminary experience. My coworkers at my Day Job were aghast that I would spend the weekend not resting and sleeping after an exhausting month (and being sick), but flying hundreds of miles within 24 hours for an 8-hour class. What they don’t understand is how incredibly recharging such a time can be for me. This class is one of my required Mentored Ministry classes, and we spent the time talking about all that can derail us from God’s work, and the many ways that ministry can drag us down. Inspiring, I know. But actually, it is: by confronting the reality of the work I am beginning, I can think through how best to stay focused on orthopraxis and not orthodoxy: in other words, on how to lead people to BE the church, rather than to just RUN a church. The key is to remain in connection with the Holy Spirit: as Jesus promised, remain in the vine and I will remain in you (John 15:5).

We still have work to do at the Day Job; the rollout press conferences are this week, and there will be Congressional testimony to prepare. But I’m more excited about the work we’re going to begin at Sydenstricker to reinvigorate our Connect ministries starting this spring. And now that the spring term has started at seminary, lots of reading and writing beckons as well. But you know? The same God who led me through the waters of January will lead me through all that as well. I can’t wait to see what unfolds next.

Author: Waiting For Life

Eric became the Associate Pastor of Sydenstricker United Methodist Church in Springfield, VA, in June 2019, as his first appointment on entering the pastorate. He is also a student at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. He's been a Certified Lay Servant in the UMC since 2003 and has been preaching and teaching about Christ since 1995, and answered Christ's call to pursue ordination in 2018. Opinions and posts are my own, not those of Sydenstricker UMC, or the Alexandria District or the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC.

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