some thoughts on Identity

It was two minutes into the second service of the day, and I stood up from the front pew to make my way to the space between the Altar and the Table.  As I prepared to lead the congregation in the words of the confession and forgiveness, I looked out at the people singing,

“Then hear, O gracious Savior, accept the love we bring,

that we who know your favor may serve you as our King;

and whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,

we’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still;

to marvel at your beauty and glory in your ways,

and make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.”

It was at that moment, about when the congregation sang, “we’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still,” that I felt the Holy Spirit move.  Now, hold on, you’re thinking, when did Beth become a charismatic?  I thought she was Lutheran.  Lutherans don’t talk about the “Holy Spirit moving.”  It’s okay, you can relax.  I am still Lutheran.  Martin Luther often talked about the Holy Spirit being the one who gives spiritual gifts and calls Christians into using those gifts in the world.

So, how did I feel the Spirit move?

I looked at the congregation, and I heard them sing, and I felt the voice of God affirming me, as I prepared to declare the forgiveness of all their sins.  My vocation, my call, my identity as a leader of God’s people, as a woman called to become a pastor.  I knew then, again, what I have known before: that I am exactly where God is calling me to be.  That I belong in the space between the Altar and the Table, where forgiveness is declared, where prayers are raised, where the Lord’s Supper is shared among the Lord’s people.

If I learn nothing else during my year as “Vicar Beth,” it will be enough if I learn to listen to the Spirit calling me.

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2 Responses to some thoughts on Identity

  1. mizmelanie says:

    smiling broadly…and actually tearing up….to hear you “say” this here. So proud of my daughter in ALL that she is.

  2. mizmelanie says:

    oh…and a thought. I would LOVE to have you discuss the idea of “enough.” 🙂

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