One of the oddities of this Lent is that many of my peers are beginning the call process with various churches across the country. Even as we face the ashes and dust of Lenten practices, we experience new life in the conversations with pastors and call committees, all full of potential and hope that ministry might blossom.
The dichotomy makes for a Lent that almost bursts out the exclamations of praise reserved for Easter and afterward, but it also reveals the fragility of the process. Some friends have yet to fully engage the process, while others now face second interviews and decisions about how to proceed. Some hopes are dashed before they fully bloom. Excitement quickly turns to anxiety over how to proceed, whether to proceed, and where God is calling in the midst of the process.
For the integrity of the process and the safety of all involved, I can't give details now, but suffice it to say that some things are moving slower than expected, and others much quicker. I know not where God will lead, but especially as we trod this Lenten path, I know it will lead through the cross of Christ. This means that, come what may, whenever God calls me to serve a church, it is precisely that: a call to service. It is not for myself, or a paycheck, or my satisfaction, or my desire, but for the people and our God that I will serve in a particular place.
Until we know for certain, all of us in the call process share only whispered joys, the silent hallelujahs that, though not fully appropriate for Lent, reveal the joy of the resurrection even as we march toward the crucifixion. But as we go along, in the midst of the silence, Lent reminds us that the journeys through the quiet lead to shouts of joy, that the roads basked in darkness will be blessed by light. Soon enough, we will know, both the truth of the resurrection, and the places to which the resurrected God calls us.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.