Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
Seriously, you people are the best.
Busy days at church. I don't know anyone (in professional ministry, that is) for whom the fall doesn't begin to feel like a marathon. We have numerous new or expanded programs at church, my daughter is involved in more extra-curricular activities, and I continue to try to stretch my days so that I can fit into them everything I need to do.
A friend visited my church this morning. She is someone who has known me for many years, through the times when my marriage seemed strong, and then through its breakup, and then through my tentative beginnings with Beloved... she knew and knows the personal life behind the ministry. I have shared with her my thoughts and concerns about coming out, and she has encouraged me, as you all have, to take my time, to wait for God/ the Spirit to prompt me in unmistakable ways.
After our worship service, we met in my office for a few minutes. She smiled broadly. You're going to be fine here, she said.
What do you mean? I asked.
I mean, you are laying the foundation for them, whether they know it or not, whether you know it or not. They'll be ready when you are.
I've been thinking about this a lot. I have never tried to push a particular political agenda from the pulpit, though I doubt anyone has any doubts about where I stand on the issues. I strive for an inclusive worship service... which, for me, means a variety of styles of music and language, so that everyone might find something familiar and comforting.
But I do think Jesus comes from a very particular political standpoint. And I preach it as I see it. It's not always comfortable. It's not always warm and fuzzy. We are challenged to go beyond our natural places of comfort. Having a lesbian pastor is certainly going to push at least some people into places they have not been before. For some of them it will be joyful and exhilarating. For others... we will just have to see.
But you are here.... and I so appreciate my cloud of witnesses. You help me to not grow weary or lose heart. Thank you.