Last year, I mentioned a humorous narrative about disciple-making courtesy of Larry Hollon, former General Secretary of United Methodist Communications. Hollon asked “Why did Jesus choose fisher persons for his disciples?
McKendree University Commencement Prayer for the 2015 Graduates Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton May 9, 2015
My maternal grandmother died in 1967. She taught me a lot “By Faith in Jesus name”. Every time my grandmother had a chance, two things she believed were driven into my mind, heart and spirit. First, she wanted me to be a preacher like my grandfather. Second, she wanted me to attend college.
How does a pastor and family survive and thrive through the move cycle through the stresses and hassles of pulling up roots and planting fresh roots as strangers in a strange land? Good moves happen every day. There is no magic formula and no relocation version of the Four Spiritual Laws, i.e., nod here and sign there and you’re going to the Heaven of a stress-free move.
Moving can be scary. After all, we typically don’t know what to expect and that ambiguity makes us uneasy, no matter how meaningful the reason we are moving is (or how many times we’ve done it). The vow of itinerancy is the commitment by pastors to go and serve wherever their Bishop sends them. The goal is to match the gifts and the graces of a particular pastor to the ministry needs of a particular congregation.
Perhaps you may be fearful because of future uncertainty? Maybe you feel powerless and frustrated with the pending change? This is normal. Find resources to help answer questions you may have. Embracing a new opportunity rather than rejecting it will ease doubt. You can make future changes a positive rather than a negative by simply having a positive outlook.
Will one Act of Repentance make up for more than 500 years of mistrust and abuse? Of course not, and there are key issues of justice that still need to be dealt with, but it is a start and you have to start someplace.
All that we go through in life offers us something to learn. Because we live in relationship with one another, we must use what we learn to help one another. This thing called life is amazing. Our Sacred Father is in everything, made everything, controls everything and loves everything.
We do take more than we need. We love to own collections. We desire more money than we need for survival. We believe that materialism is the pathway to happiness. Upon reflection we might do well to consider whether we are taking more than we need from the earth’s resources to the detriment and even survival of other life species.