Mission MDiv Complete

On July 30 2009 I wrote:

An new era is starting in my life, so I thought I would start a blog

I’ve written a lot of words since then, a total of three hundred posts, most of them about the journey toward something, some of them struggling with what to do when that something was reached, and some about the things that have happened, or I’ve thought about over those years.

Today, I have reached the beginning of another new era. About half an hour ago, I finished writing the last exam required to complete the Master of Divinity degree. The goal which seemed always to be somewhere up ahead is now right here. I’ve got my arms wrapped around it and with some fear and trepidation, I’m looking at all the roads leading away from it. Some of them are of my own making. I did things to pave a path to this place for some of them, and now I need to try to figure out which one to actually put my feet to.

imagesI recognize the thing I’ve got my arms wrapped around, right now, is little more than a mile marker. We saw lots of those in Spain when we walked the Camino. These markers provide a sense of accomplishment, but are not the final destination. I’ve had my eye on this particular marker for so long it seems like it is part of me, part of my identity, a place where I might build, and stay a while, now that I’ve arrived, but, that would be an aborted trip rather than a completed journey.

What I need to do instead is try to see the next marker. There are a number of roads I need to look down and all of them seem to have hills, and trees, which are blocking my vision. I may need to stand on someone’s shoulders for a clearer view, or just start down one of them, to see what is over the next hill.

To be sure, I’ll be consulting with my travelling companion as a road is chosen. We’ve traveled together a good long way already, and I have come to rely on her keen senses to keep us out of trouble. I have no intention of leaving her standing beside the road,  and going on alone.  While I’ve been focused on the marker we’re standing beside now, she’s been keeping a good eye on the road, and everything around the road. She will figure large in the decisions we make as we choose one of these roads to walk.

When I first set up this blog, I put Ephesians 2:10 at the top of it. Some of you know the words of this verse, but for those who don’t, here it is:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

images (1)I may think I’ve done some things to get some of the roads we’re facing right now to come to this place, but in reality, the road we are to walk is already set out in front of us, ready for us to start walking. It would just be nice if it had a great big yellow arrow on it.

I also need to think about the future of this blog. It has become a great friend along the way. Should I change the name of it to The Farmer went to Seminary?

Lament for a Church that has Lost Its Way

This Lament was written as an assignment for my Contextual Ministry class.

Lament for a Church that has Lost Its Way

 

O LORD, where have you gone?

It seems only a moment ago

That you were walking right here,

 with us,

among us.

Now you seem to be gone.

Didn’t you say you would never leave us or forsake us?

What happened?

*****

When you were here,

our church was full.

Those were happy times,

times when we had few cares

because we knew that we were walking

in the same direction as you were.

At least,

we thought we knew.

*****

At some turning in the way,

we seem to have become separated,

each to his own way.

You walked away from us.

When you were with us we were confident

we were going in the right direction.

Our confidence left with you.

We feel lost,

alone.

Where have you gone?

Are you even listening to us now?

*****

Look at us,

our ministries are collapsing.

Our friends are deserting us,

looking for you in other places,

leaving us to wither,

prophesying our failure,

They’re making fun of us,

gossiping about our demise.

They say we just made you up!

That maybe you were never here.

*****

Did we really say “our ministries”?

They’re not ours at all.

Maybe this is where we’ve gone wrong,

why you seem to have abandoned us.

We thought all this was ours,

when it really all belongs to you.

We’ve been looking at ourselves rather than you.

We’ve been walking this direction on our own longer than we thought.

*****

Praise God!

Praise God!

Praise God!

*****

You never did

leave us at all!

In your love, you

 Couldn’t do that.

You watched us leave, like a Shepherd watches lambs frolic carelessly.

You would even give yourself, die, nailed, keep us safe, bring us home.

You have not left us, but, are watching us, ready to catch us, protect us.

 if we had  stumbled,

if there was danger.

To come the moment

we realized our need

 realized our weakness

realized we need You

Gently prodding us

to follow You again.

To come back into

Your open loving arms

*****