|Chauncey and his wife Christine
Tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to a service at PCC. I helped plan it, but I won’t be on the stage. Along with my friend and co-worker Chauncey Starkey, I’ll be the center of attention in an odd and uncomfortable way. Both of us have commiserated about our distaste for having a fuss made about us, which is exactly what we’ll be getting tomorrow.
I blog about my life; if you read and think I’m self-absorbed and disturbingly introspective, you probably have grounds to make that claim. But I write to process, and I do it here, probably because I’m heard, and that matters. So be it.
I am on a stage in front of a lot of people almost every week. I enjoy it; I am extremely comfortable in that venue. Maybe that’s an indicator of a big ego or a desire for the spotlight. I don’t know. You could make that argument, I suppose.
But here’s the thing: I like to blog and I like to be on the platform on Sundays. I’m wired that way. It is what it is, which is good, because it’s my life. It’s good. But I really, really don’t like being the center of attention. It makes me so uncomfortable and I feel terribly awkward. Don’t sing to me in a restaurant for my birthday. Don’t take my picture. Don’t make a fuss over me. I actually have a lot of introverted tendencies, and they are surprisingly strong.
Chauncey feels the same way. But tomorrow, he and I are both stepping out of our comfort zones and sitting down for something that feels a bit awkward, but will undoubtedly be one of the most meaningful moments of each of our lives. We have each sensed that God has called us to full-time vocational ministry, to serve Him (currently through the local church) and we’ve accepted that call. We both sat through separate ordination councils, after working through written answers to a battery of questions about our faith and its practice. We defended our positions to the members of the councils and answered any questions they had.
And they ordained us. We are each “official” ministers; we have the right to be called “Reverend”. (Which is sort of weird. Because I don’t feel “reverend”…but then again, I sort of do….) The ordination itself is done, confirmed, over. But the cool part (at least for the ones I’ve attended before) is in the service, where the entire church is invited to participate in “setting apart” an individual for ministry. The way it works at PCC is we have some singing (my kids, in this case, along with Lindsay Harris and other awesome worship leaders) and a little scripture reading and praying, and a short explanation from Brian…and then all who are so inclined are invited to speak to or pray for the ordainee. Chauncey and I will sit in chairs in the front of the room, and the people will line up and they’ll speak words of wisdom. Or encouragement. Or whatever they are led to share.
It is a humbling honor to consider being given such a gift. I am not quite sure what to do with it. I received an email today in which a friend wrote,
“Tomorrow, you are being set aside in God’s service. He has taken you on an incredible personal and spiritual journey, unlocking greater leadership gifts along the way. Your continued obedience and daily choice to serve Him through challenges and blessings has brought you to this point. God has called you to something New. It is a story that is still being written. But your calling has been confirmed by others who recognize that new calling, and agree that this calling requires your being set apart in such a way that the world will recognize it.”
Later, my friend included this statement: “Tomorrow, when it’s time to lay on hands and speak words of encouragement, I may just hug you and cry tears of joy, and maybe whisper a little ‘I love you.’ Please know that behind those words are these prayed over and carefully chosen words that I have written here today.”
I was so moved by the words in that email. I mean really, profoundly moved. And I began to consider that as much as I’ve joked about dreading being the center of attention tomorrow, maybe this is going to be an incredibly encouraging, transformative experience.
Of course it will.
I’ve been part of ordination services for others, and they are all profoundly moving. So I don’t doubt tomorrow will be, as well.
I’m going to take a deep breath, and enter into the day waiting to see what new things God is going to unveil. My parents will be there; my girls are going to sing together. My friend Lisa is here from Ohio, my husband will be beside me. Friends and co-workers and fellow musicians who have become family to me will be there. I will be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, both here on earth and above (I’ve NO DOUBT that Bob Pino has set aside time to join in; however thin that veil may be, I know that his presence will be felt. Bob was one of my biggest cheerleaders and encouragers. He and Jeannie helped me get to this place.)
It’s going to be a good day. My ordination service is tomorrow, and I’m finally excited.
|Don’t call me ‘reverend’.
It’s at 6PM at PCC’s Powhatan Campus, 4480 Anderson Highway. You’re all invited. 🙂