Over the past few days I have been spending time in a seminary. I have been in conversation with seminarians and faculty and am fascinated with others concepts of theology and call. I was recalling yesterday about a time in my life when we as a young family were in a dizzying transition. My husband had been hired to be a part of the founding company of a theater in Denver and we moved with our first child, Emily, then a toddler, to Colorado. After the first season, many of our friends lost their jobs and moved back east. We were a long way from any of our family and I was terribly distressed by losing my few friends. Emily, then maybe two and a half, saw my distress, patted my hand and told me, "don't worry Mommy, Jesus is right here with us."
That was a long time before I was a priest, bishop or any sort of religious leader. But I recognize now that my own theological reflection and sense of call is completed rooted in familial relationships. Both are so central a part of my being, my daily walk in faith, and my leadership, that I don't often talk or write about theological reflection or call separate from my family and the intimate relationships around me. Jesus is so central to my existence, to the core of who I am, so completely and intimately connected to my daily life that I assume this the case for others, particularly other church leaders. What I am learning in these days of discernment and reflection is the need for me to be clear about my own theology, my grounding in scripture, and my relationship with God. Assuming that others walk in faith is similar to mine is dangerous.
Years ago, when our second oldest daughter was struggling with spelling, we devised as series of tricks for her to remember. Ariel's favorite was the trick for the word assume - assume makes an ass out of u and me. In fact, I learned again today how right that is for my assumptions. I cannot possibly expect others to share my experience or understand where I have been. My call is to tell the story - the Jesus story - as I know it. To embedded my life and story in the transforming acts of God's love for us -a love so rich and encompassing that he would offer a child for the salvation of the world. "I love to tell the story, because I know 'tis true, it satisfies my longings, as nothing else can do."
I learned in a whole new way that I need to tell the story. People are needing to be reminded and drawn into an intimacy with God. That route is often through the transforming power of the Gospel story intersecting with our lives. May each of us this day proclaim to others, near and far, the redemptive work of God in our lives. So often, I assume (oh, there's that word again) that people have heard the story. But in truth, we all need to hear the story over and over again. Darkness can encompass us at any minute. Some time our hearts and minds are not receptive. May today we each have the courage to hold our light so that others can see, tell our story so others can hear, and open our hearts to where God is calling each of us today.