Years ago someone put a wonderful book by Christine Valters Paintner in my hands. Called The Soul of a Pilgrim, Paintner’s book has eight chapters, each one about a practice for the inner pilgrimage of discovery. She begins with “The Practice of Hearing the Call and Responding,” a kind of listening and response that requires close attention and honesty about how we might hear God’s voice in our lives.
When Pastor Peter asked me to step in to help during his sabbatical, I was excited to say yes. After meeting and talking with Pastor John and others on the staff at Christ the King, I looked forward to serving with them, getting to know you all, and being together as we journeyed through Lent to Easter, winter into spring. But none of us anticipated having the corona virus with us as companion on this journey: it has changed so much about our lives, our hopes and expectations. Not being able to be together has diminished our opportunities to worship and learn together, to enjoy each other’s company, and even to care for one another in the ways we have so long done that.
My call has changed and so must my response. Christ the King is blessed with a wonderful group of leaders of every kind. They are dedicated to imagining how to be church in this different world, how to care for all the congregation, the neighborhood, and for one another. I am not needed for the kinds of pastoral work we had imagined.
Even as Jesus’ disciples could not have foreseen how their callings would change after Easter, even as they walked together into a world where God had brought God’s beloved son back to life and death had lost its ultimate power, so we keep walking into worlds that surprise us and challenge us. Painter’s book has another chapter I really cherish. It is, The Practice of Embracing the Unknown. It does take practice not merely to accept, but to embrace the unknown, doesn’t it? Yet, that is exactly what we are all called to do, not just in this strange season of separation, but as we follow a living God whose ways are not
simply our own.
I offer blessings and prayers for you as you continue your journey and continue to discern where our risen and living Lord is calling you to be his body in and for a changing world.