This follows on from yesterdays post. Sorry if it’s a bit rambling!
How to carve a ministry out of nothing?
How to learn a new way to be, that still has meaning, and purpose and call?
How to respond when people don’t even know, or have forgotten you are a minister?
how to continue to live out the ‘God who will not let me go’?
How to walk by faith, if not by sight?
There are many days when I feel alone, detached, and yes heart-broken. So much I long to be doing, and yet, and yet…
The struggle to find a ministry. The struggle to re-become the intrinsic Me.
This blog started as part of that struggle. To still have sermons burning within me, the need to be able to ‘preach’, even if I had no physical voice. The need to find a niche and yes a ministry.
It is hard to each week take part in something that you ‘should’ be leading. Can you imagine having to give up (have taken away?) your job, and every week having to turn up and watch someone else make a really good job of it – whilst longing to be doing that yourself? To turn up to worship God, to have your heart and soul torn apart week by week? Obviously at some point you have to come to terms with this, and this blog has helped. I do still find the ‘specials’ hard – Christmas and Easter; and watching someone else ‘do’ communion can be painful – how much depending on what place I am in. How I long to do that, yet it is not to be. That is not where I am now.
Some days it hurts. I react badly from a place of pain and frustration. I still long to be a part of ‘things’ – exciting things, places where God is working, ground-breaking stuff, working on making God relevant in today’s society.
That is not my current calling – yet I remain called and I remain a Minister. Just because I have stopped doing the functions does not mean I am no longer ordained and called to ministry.
I have lost, but I have been given back. I have been given a ministry I could not have had if I was still a circuit minister. I have time. Time to listen, time to hear, time to be with.
I meet people I would never have met if I had stayed where I was, or if I was still busy, busy, busy. I have had opportunity to cultivate new relationships, many of them ‘on line’. God can, and does I believe, still use me.
Ministry is different, but still is – I still am.
The Methodist Covenant Prayer is powerful wherever you are in life:
‘I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.’
To many of us, being ‘laid aside’ for God is a scary thought. It is a scary place. But I pray that in being laid aside, in having apparently nothing, God continues to work in and through me.
God can and does rescue me – from my panic, from my pain, from my hurt, from the things I can’t do. He takes this broken and cracked old pot – and is making something new.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIVUK)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(And for anyone who knows me, perhaps the biggest surprise of all this is that I’ve chosen two classic hymns!)