Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hometown Girl

“A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” Matthew 13:57

In a few weeks I will be installed as the Rector of All Saints' Harrison. We have been here now for several months and I have had lots of time to ponder what it means to do ministry in one's home town. I moved here as an infant with my family in 1956. I walked to school, grade school through high school and graduated from this place. I graduated in 1973 and never looked back. And yet here I am in a most familiar place being asked by God and these people to do ministry together. I feel blessed to be here and truly honored. But there are big shoes to fill and big needs to be met. The challenge of doing ministry here is not the lack of honor but rather the bar is set so high by me.

Jesus comes to his home and is met with a familiar disrespect, a teasing, as it were, in his hometown. They all know him and remember him as a child. Being known is not necessarily as dangerous as one might think or undermining thing. Being known calls forth a respect and honor for the one who is known. Those of us who are serving in our hometowns have a special privilege and a special challenge. The place and the people have formed us and we are being called to love and transform the communities where we serve.

Today I ask God for an extra measure of grace and strength. I serve where my family is known and I ask God to help me serve them well. It is easy for me to get too familiar with a people or a place, when much has changed since I lived here. I ask God for a compassionate heart and the eyes of a new visitor, to take in all the wonder and delight that is before me here. And may we all rejoice in the people and places that have made us who we are.

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