On the eve of my ordination I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy and fear and hope and love and giddy delight. On the eve of my ordination, I look back, amazed that my life has brought me here; that somehow, despite all the ways in which this call could have been squelched that it remained consistent and compelling. I look over my shoulder at the great cloud of witnesses that stand in support behind me; I look back at all the people who throughout my life, whether they knew it or not, were fostering God’s call deep within my soul. I look back at the deep joys and equally deep pains that this journey has guided me through and I am so intensely hopeful for the ones that lie ahead.
Following God’s call is rarely easy, but I’ve had a long enough journey to know that ease is hardly the goal. The goal is to get the rare and beautiful chance to see God in the face of another, the goal is to know that as I decrease, God’s work within me can increase, and the goal is sometimes not having a goal in mind at all, but to be willing to wade through the murky places in life without fully knowing where God might be leading, but trusting nonetheless.
I stand on the cusp of my ordained priesthood not with some grandiose ideals about how my vocation and career will unfold, or with an exaggerated sense of my pastoral or preaching abilities, but with the quiet, constant refrain that has reverberated within my soul the entirety of my life, “I believe I am so called.” Throughout my life this has been the drumbeat that has been woven into my being before I could even articulate it, and I am lucky enough that others heard it even before I did. I am lucky to have struggled to hear it myself, and lucky enough to have others strain to hear it in the discernment process.
My prayer for my ordained priesthood is that it be filled with faith, hope, and love. Faith when everything points in opposition; faith that God is near even in the darkest of days. Hope when the weight of the serving in this call feels much to heavy; hope that is found only in the resurrection life. Love when I’m blinded by my own prejudices or assumptions; love that flows out of God’s abundant and extravagant care for this world. My prayer is that my priesthood is one that is full of prayer after prayer; that it is one full of the same gratitude and joy and fear and hope and love and giddy delight that I experience on the eve of my ordination. My prayer is that my actions and my words match the longings of my heart, and that God’s grace be present with each day. May the Lord who has given me the will to do these things give me the grace and life to pursue them.
This is beautiful, Becca. Thanks be to God for your ministry, for your witness, for your words. My prayers will be added to those celebrating with you tomorrow.
“I believe I am so called.” I got to that sentence and I wept. Because they are born of a humble confidence that is about believing in God more than believing in oneself. And because I believe you are so called too.