Last week I went to a Sunday night service (which is amazing as a pastor to just get to go to service Sunday night and not have to plan it or be in charge of anything). My dear friend, Andrew, preached on the truth that hope can’t wait. As part of the sermon, there were two large sheets of blank paper in the middle of the room. On one, we were asked to write things we hope for – big, small, everything in between. On the other, we were asked to write things we could do now. I sat in my seat for a few minutes and prayed over the ways God might be speaking to me in that moment about hope. When the Spirit moved, I got up and wrote on the paper for things we could do now: get ordained.
This goal has been a process for more than 10 years now. Discerning my call, obtaining the right degrees, gaining experience, praying a lot (like a lot a lot). It’s at the point now where it started to feel like that is a goal I will never reach. I started seminary and had to find a church home. I found a (turned out to be temporary) church home and discovered it was not a safe or sustainable place for me to do ministry. I’m working in an incredible church as pastor for the second year and we’re preparing for me to leave and start all over again in 6 months. Getting ordained started to feel like a goal I will never reach.
But my friend Andrew and the Holy Spirit opened up to me that is just not true. That is something I am doing right now as an act of hope for the future and hope for what God is doing in and through me. As I played music for a good friend’s ordination service last month, I had this powerful sense of “wow, this is what I am called to do – that will be me.” So of course, as something I can do right now, I can get ordained – or at least keep chipping away at the needed steps to there.
So when I get overwhelmed with writing final papers and applying for jobs and shifting pieces around to figure out how on earth my next year is going to work and moving my ordination efforts to the PC(USA), I hold tightly to the truth that my work to get ordained is an act of faith. I trust that God is calling me to this work. That is something no one, no small theology, no general conference, no finite human interpretation can take away from me. Hope can’t wait, so neither will I.
Maybe getting ordained is not your call. Maybe it’s starting a company or writing a book or curing a disease. But in this season of waiting and preparation and expectation, I pray you, too, are challenged to follow that unfailing, steadfast Voice to hold, chase, and live out hope – in Advent and beyond.