Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"utterly impossible and utterly wonderful"

"My Shepherd has called me to a flock that is wandering or wounded or rebelling visibly -- not just leagues away in the quiet of their hearts lined in the pews. I am to find my flock somewhere outside that rain-splattered window I'm looking out now....

"Truly, Lord, what is this call you have placed upon me? It is utterly impossible and utterly wonderful. What kind of priest will I become, Lord?"

I wrote the above words a little over a year ago as I prepared spiritually to be ordained as a priest. Hannah and I moved to Troy in the summer of 2010 with an absurdly glorious vision of God's plan of mercy and redemption. We had no home, no job, no church, no team. It was totally nuts.

In weeks and months, God provided us with jobs and a home. We prayed and prayed and prayed. And things happened. Astounding things.

A team formed -- of college students, of longtime area residents, of Christian Alliance folks and Methodists and inner city non-Denominational Christians and other Episcopalians from nearby cities and from cities hours away. They showed up to pray and to serve food and to play with kids. And the passion to see the light of heaven blast away the darkness in North Troy grew in us all.

Within the last several weeks, Oaks received a large donation that will allow both Hannah and I to quit our part-time jobs and to focus all of our time on mission. And, we have a building. We've rented a former diner in North Troy from a man with a desire to bless the city. We are excited about hot meals and hot coffee in that place in the months to come. We envision a safe place for kids to play and create and to play foosball. We want it to be a place for addicts to meet together and get clean. Most of all, the diner is to be a place where all people can come as they are to worship -- where the good and the bad can find Jesus' love and mercy.

Today, just 18 months after moving to Troy, we stood inside the diner praying alongside Christians of other denominations who share the Lord's absurdly glorious vision of mercy and redemption for Troy. They are utterly committed to Jesus and to laying their lives down for him and for the people in the neighborhood. They are our friends.

Truly, Lord, what is this call you have placed upon all of us? It is utterly impossible and utterly wonderful. What kind of priestly people will we become together, O Lord?