The past 2 weeks have shown all aspects of ministry. Quite literally, on the morning I was going to participate in a wedding, I got a call that a congregant died. One of the greatest celebrations paired with one of our deepest sorrows. Holding these two occasions in tension is a challenge. And, at the same time, I was honoring one year of being out on social media, leading my senior chapel service at the seminary, celebrating my birthday, and hosting my family. Needless to say, I am tired!
People keep asking me how I’m doing. And it’s a question I’m not sure how to answer at this point. Because, yes, this has all been hard. Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, the balance is a lot. But as the same time, I’ve had this strange spirit of gratitude in my heart. How beautiful is it that God is with us as we celebrate love at a wedding and as we celebrate life at a funeral? How incredible is it that both of these bookends bring together all kinds of people, from all walks of life, with all of their stories? How amazing is it that the same Gospel, the same Good News, is preached and embodied at both ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in between?
Along the way, I’ve been making small talk with all kinds of people I’ve never met before, and likely will not meet again. We exchange pleasantries of where we’re from, what we do, and how we’re connected to the event. And by this, I’ve been reminded that my story is needed. My story is needed at a wedding. My story is needed at a funeral. My story is needed to declare on public platforms that God sees, affirms, and celebrates queer lives. My story is needed in the average and in the extraordinary. There is a power in sharing our story, no matter how glorious or mundane or challenging it may be. And by proclaiming our story, we get to speak even more to God’s story. We need God’s story to understand forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, presence, and love. We need God’s story to step back into the reality that we are loved and we are enough, as is our neighbor. We need God’s story to ground us when the balance is too heavy or the tension is too tight.
So as I step into another week of sitting with the sick, standing up for the marginalized, declaring the Good News, and celebrating the gift of love, I challenge myself and those around me to bring our stories into our work. Bring our full selves so that God may continue to use us for the greater transformation of all of our hearts. We are needed, friends – in the joy and in the sorrow. And as we put all of who we are into this challenging, noble, vulnerable work, may we remember God is encapsulated in it all.
Your gift of writing never ceases to amaze me. Whenever you DO get around to putting everything in a book and it is published, I’m signing up right now for Copy # 1. Fall-like weather has spent the day in Greenville, and we have welcomed the day with open arms. May God continue to use you in His service to His glory!!!