This past Thursday night I took another step along the road towards the pastorate. One of the requirements in the United Methodist Church is for the local church, at its annual business meeting, to certify a candidate for ordination that it wishes to sponsor. This week, I had the rare privilege of being in that situation.
The District Superintendent, Jeff, was there for the annual charge conference, which is what it’s called, and he ran the meeting, including the time to ratify me. When that came, he explained the uniqueness of this proceeding, before supervising a written ballot vote whether to put me forward. I am humbled and honored to have had the support of all 44 church members present and voting that night. (Yes, apparently, Mary voted for me too.)
When the vote was announced, Jeff called me forward and everyone had a chance to lay hands on me and he led a blessing. I was touched, and moved, by the love and support of the congregation, and the unanimous vote really affirmed for me how much people are behind me, and apparently how much of a “duh!” this is to everyone.
There’s a few steps more to go before certification this winter. I have to complete my mentoring cycle, which will take me to January I expect; I have to review the results of my psychological testing, which will probably be next month sometime. And I have some essays to write about fundamental theological questions. But I’m thinking I will have achieved certified status by spring.
Hebrews is our men’s Bible study group that meets Sunday nights over beers at a local sports bar (He-brews, get it?). Some weeks ago, Dave said he wanted us to move beyond just talk, and to go into mission. So we connected with a group at Burke United Methodist to participate in Rebuilding Together, where we had the opportunity to help fix up a townhouse for an older gentleman who wasn’t able to take care of it anymore. This was a tremendous opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ: to use our gifts of time and skill to help someone who needed them. When we arrived, people were painting the outside, landscaping, fixing the roof, and laying new flooring in three rooms. Our group had the opportunity to lay flooring in the master bedroom. But first, I had to paint the bathroom. Well, not the whole thing: the trim.
Generally speaking I like painting. I love using the roller and covering a large wall with bright new color. I absolutely hate doing the trim. The tiny little detail work, how long it takes to finish…so very frustrating to me. But here I was, assigned to put two coats on the trim in a tiny bathroom that clearly hadn’t seen any paint in a decade or two.
God has a funny way of working sometimes. The things we hate to do, sometimes he puts right in front of us. To serve this gentleman, the homeowner, I have to put aside my own feelings about trim work and focus on doing a better job without complaint. It’s a great way of helping teach humility and helping diminish our own selfishness, to become more like Christ.
Sometimes to be Christ’s hands and feet, it means I have to do the trim.
Lord, thank you for once again pushing me to serve others, and in doing to, to put myself aside all the more. May Christ be seen in me even in the things I don’t like, because I do them in his name.