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Transitions

A month ago, I posted a letter from my daughter’s blog Tales of an Earth Mama. The letter spoke of her longing to move to Kansas but her struggle with the state of education in Kansas. I, too, wish she would move home, but life is always changing and one never knows what will be around the next corner.

Fast forward one month and I have announced my own change. I moving congregations. After 10 years at West Heights United Methodist Church as senior pastor, on July 1, I will begin as senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in downtown Wichita. This change came as a big surprise to me. I had not asked to move, my church was not seeking a change in pastors and yet, the call came and I said yes.

I am part of a facebook community called RevGalBlogPals. As the name implies, it is clergy women who “blog” and who have created a supportive community. The Facebook page has all kinds of resources for worship and for new ideas. It is over 3000 strong with women from many denominations sharing.

In January, one of the women shared her tradition of “star words.” In a linked file, it listed over 400 such words. She would use yellow paper cut out as stars and printed all the different unique words. Many of the women involved in the facebook group asked for a word. I did too. She chose words and let us know what our word would be.

I loved the idea and took it to my worship team and we decided to use a similar principle for the Sunday after Epiphany and celebrate the baptism of Jesus.  We used a variety of  bright colored paper and invited people to come forward, remember their baptism and pick a word to pray on for the next year. Perhaps they would randomly pick a word and or they could carefully choose one.

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I randomly drew a word. It was interesting, the word I had been given through Facebook was “perceive.” I know that only because I went back and looked. I prayed with that word each morning and evening until I randomly drew a word on that second Sunday in January. The word I drew then was:

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So from that time, I prayed with the word “expectation.” I wasn’t really expecting anything. I would just pray, for lack of better words, expectantly. I asked God to do new things in my life. I asked God to use me, to let me serve, to let me find joy in all that I did.

I have jokingly told people, “see what happens when you pray! You never know what God is going to do!!” Truth! I never know what God is going to do. I pray regularly, though, that God will make my life matter. I ask God to help me love more deeply, serve with integrity and joy and to help me be an instrument of grace, peace and love.

So, my life is in transition. I must say goodbye to people I dearly love. My time at West Heights has been blessed in so many ways, we have laughed together, cried together, worked together and served together. In the midst goodbyes, I will begin preparing in expectation what God will be doing in this next chapter in my life.

Truly, I am graced to serve.

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Service

I am sitting at the Mid-Continent Airport getting ready for a flight thinking about service.  The last few days I have been blessed again and again by good service.  Seems like all I ever hear is how there is no good service anywhere anymore.  I can say truthfully, “that just ain’t so.”

On Wednesday, I was at home waiting for our new refrigerator to be delivered.  Our old one had gone to where ever old appliances go when they give up the ghost ( or it did after they took it away.)  The delivery men were friendly, helpful, thoughtful and worked  around the parameters of our one hundred year old house, meaning small doorways and angles.  They were also funny.  They worked with me and the monster of a refrigerator we had purchased.  They were careful and did not make a mess.

On Thursday, my car was low on gas, in the red kind of low on gas.  I had hospital calls to make, I was still in my airboot for my broken foot, and it takes a bit to get it on and off.  I thought about stopping for gas and couldn’t face pumping my own.  I had hospital calls to make and well, I guess I was just being lazy.  I have been pumping my own gas since I was 16 and was driving had my “own” car, in other words one I shared with my twin sister.

Near the church is a Cenex station with self serve, of course, but also one full service island.  I know full service is so much more expensive, but I decided that I was going “whole hog” and would buy a car wash as well!  The man came out, and admired my 2000 bright yellow VW bug.  I gave him $40.00 to fill it up…and he said, “will it take that much???”  He wanted to check the air in my tires, and of course it wasn’t written on the door.  So I handed him the book from the glove department….still, no air pressure noted.  He offered to go check it out online.  I said, “it’s fine.”  So he checked the tires anyway and found them to be within one pound of each other.  He offered to check the oil…and I said it’s fine and that i would like a car wash.  He said, I have it covered and gave me a free car wash…not the cheap one, but the “premium one.”  I was amazed, thanked him several times, ran the car through the wash and went on to make my calls.

Today, I am at the airport ready to go to a “preaching” conference.  Monday morning can be a bit of a stressful time to fly, but the experience was as relaxed as airports can be.  The agents at the Southwest Counter were relaxed, helpful and in spite of a long time didn’t appear anxious or short with the customers.  The TSA agent greeted each person with a friendly greeting while doing her important job of checking ID’s and boarding passes.

Then, I stopped for a cup of coffee at the Great American Bagel Bakery.  On a Monday morning, at 7:00 a.m. they were OUT of Bagels.  The folks ahead of me were a bit upset, because this is a small airport and there is no where else to get food, except to leave security. I ordered my cup of coffee and said, “must be hard not to have bagels on a Monday morning!”  The young man said, “I want to go home.”  I said, “maybe soon.”  He said, ” we are supposed to have a truck in, but it’s not here. And i have been here since 3:00.”  “I hope the rest of your day goes better.”  He looked straight at me and said, “it will if I change my attitude.”  “I hope you have a great day,” I said.  He said, “I will!”

We are all called to serve, some of us for our jobs, but all of us are called to service to our family, our friends and in some ways for the world at large.  A sense of joy at another day, a sense of purpose, and occasionally a change of attitude is what I need for me to embrace a life of service and ministry.  The past few days have reminded what a gift it is to serve and to be blessed by the service of others.  I am grateful to the man at Cenex, the delivery men and all the people I have encountered at the airport this day.

I am graced to serve.

 

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