This past summer, I almost lost the feeling of all my tethers. I was like some ridiculous life-sized balloon, adrift in the atmosphere, until I felt the steady tug and tie of two bright stars, grounding my life and calling me home – the love of my son and husband. Of course there were other tethers still there, but in that bleak moment, I confess that I felt like I was coming undone, all the knots were slipping. It is often the relationships we knit together in our lives that can become the echoes of God’s love for us. And sometimes we need those echoes to be as loud as a freight train!
So now, I find myself in another time of transition. I have been appointed to serve as the senior pastor at Krum First United Methodist Church effective January 1. You can read more about this transition from the perspective of the Krum church’s current pastor, Christy Thomas, here. For my part, I am so humbled and honored by the opportunity. I am also simultaneously breathlessly excited, shaking in my boots, and snipping the beautiful tethers that have bound me in ministry at First UMC-Denton. It brings this hymn to mind:
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
We share each other’s woes, our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.
United Methodist Hymnal #557
I was looking over the order of worship planned for January 5 at the Krum church, so I could have an idea of what lies ahead. Tears pricked my eyes as I read the liturgy through which that body of faithful people will welcome me as their pastor – that I shall baptize new Christians, that I shall preside at the table to feed the family of faith, that I shall lead them in ministry to the community and to the world – these are all things I knew in my head, but I feel blessed beyond compare that they are receiving me for this ministry. I am tying all sorts of new tethers of relationship.
This is the church I chose, our United Methodist Church, and this is what I signed up to do. Our theology is sound and we are still called to spread Scriptural holiness over the land. Despite all the global church’s warts and failings, the movement of pastors, so that each one’s unique gifts and graces might continue to build up of churches (i.e. the people of God) can be an amazing, Spirit-filled thing. And I’m all in!