starts to swing open I find myself asking questions. Most of them are about faith.
For most of my adult life I’ve structured my Christian life around my work as a pastor. It’s rhythms and flows shaped what I did, where I went, and how I was a Christian. I know little of any other world. I’ve been preparing or serving in churches and chaplaincy since 1985. I’ve been involved in some sort of pastoral responsibility almost permanently in that time. So what would I do if that role was gone?
Could I be a faithful Christian if I wasn’t a Priest, if I didn’t have the order and duty of a Priest surrounding me? Would I end up being distracted? Would the cares of life and just all the busy things take me away? Would I lose my grip?
After all preparing to be, and serving in some ministry capacity is most of what I know. Even when I was bi-vocational for the past five years I thought of myself as a Priest and tried to live, as best I could, like one. If that part of my life ended what would it be like? More importantly how would I be a faithful Christian if my title was only “mister”?
Right now I’m glad to help where I can. I don’t mind traveling to make sure a church is served when their pastor needs a well deserved break. I’m good at doing an exclamation or two during the Liturgy and I can usually find something to do or clean when there’s down time, and there’s a lot of down time.
At the same time I am a good musician. People pay money to hear me. I’ve made friends. I’ve made connections. In the Church I’m on the side but on the stage I’m front and center. When I was a child I would dream about days like this and now they seem to be here. The doors seem really wide open.
Yet what good what any of this be without faith, without the life of God? In the end there’s only an audience of One that matters. What good would any of it be if at the end there was only the applause of earth? New directions are out there and they have a call but is this “the” call? Is this God or is it a clever ruse to take away the most important things and leave me stranded?
I’m still figuring these things out. One thing I do know is that my admiration for those people who live this Faith day in and day out in the “world” beyond the Church walls has grown. It’s easy, in some ways, to be a Christian when you have all the trappings of ordained ministry. The church walls can protect you and people’s expectations change when they see the collar. I am convinced that the true heroes of the Church are those people who find the way to be faithful without the props that come with vocational ministry.
Could it be that I am supposed to enter this world? Could it be that one part of my life is over and a new one has begun? I don’t know and frankly even the idea of asking such questions is frightening. I guess for right now its just about being faithful and putting one foot in front of the other.