I had another strong dose of the reality of what I'm doing today . . . well it actually started yesterday when I had the opportunity to sit in on the memorial plans -- on Father's Day of all days -- with the family of a former member who committed suicide over the weekend. The gravity of my position hit me when I saw his step-daughter's face -- she was lost, overwhelmed and devastated. The only father she knew was gone. And in that moment, I was reminded of what it means to say that you're a minister -- the one who is called to hold it all together for those who need a steady place to stand and someone on which to lean and help them make sense of their disrupted world.
There is something about standing in that type of call. It's a humbling place to be. A position that, if you're honest, shines a light on your own weaknesses, inabilities and insecurities and reminds you that you alone can't make things better, only the one who you stand on behalf of.
I received a letter from a new minister friend of mine the other day who reminded me of who I am -- at least this summer. In the letter, my friend pointed out that I am Harvest's "pastor" for the summer (the senior pastors are gone on vacation for a month) and I will have some good opportunities to deliver pastoral care -- some that will be easy, some not so good and some that may be hard and painful. But that in the midst of all of that, I won't be alone -- that God will be along for the ride and in place to handle whatever comes.
I'm glad she reminded me of that, particularly on a day when I find all of these yellow slips of paper in my inbox -- prayer requests . . .for all kinds of issues . . . that a missing granddaughter would be found . . . that a healing would come to cancer-attacked bodies . . . that God will bless the healthy arrival of a new baby . . . that families who have lost loved ones will be strengthened. . . that God will accompany the doctors in surgery. The concerns are many. And they bring into full view of how real all of this is. It brings into full view how many people really need a safe place to park their fears and doubts. And how many people need someone to speak, petition and fight on their behalf.
It's not so much different than being journalist.