Fifteen years ago yesterday it was Youth Sunday at the church where I grew up, Community Presbyterian Church of San Juan Capistrano, CA. As my wife of two years sat among the congregation that had loved, challenged, and sometimes tollerated me, I preached the morning sermon to encourage the graduating high school seniors. Then in the afternoon the community gathered to share in my being ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), threshold between a journey all of those present that day helped shape and a journey that was just beginning.
I am now serving the fourth church in this journey, having been deeply moved by so many people sharing their lives with me. It is an awesome thing to be asked to be present during people’s most tender life moments. It has been an amazing privilege. There have been many difficult and even painful days, weeks, and months as many people have also thrust their fear, anxiety, and even anger upon me—sometimes justified, but often times misdirected out of frustration. It has been a wild ride thus far.
Somehow, in the great mystery of the universe, I trust God has been there with every step. Sometimes, I’m sure, God cringed. Sometimes God seems to have been smiling. But all along I trust God has been trying to encourage me, strengthen me, and even push me beyond what I thought were my limits