These are a series of reflections on my desire to seek Holy Orders
in the Episcopal Church.
5 March 2006 - The First Sunday in Lent
They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - and so it does. This morning, as I led the congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco in the prayers and responses of The Great Litany, I began a journey. Certainly I began the journey through the days of Lent that we all shall share. However, on a totally different level I began something altogether different - perhaps said better - a new aspect of a journey that has called me since I was a child. My father was a Lutheran pastor, and I would follow him over to the church on Saturdays as he would prepare the altar and chancel for the following days services. I was intranced, I was fascinated, I was called. I wanted to do what he did.
I have been a pastor in the Lutheran Church for almost 35 years. I have served in New England, New Jersey, and now here (at Saint Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco, until Pentecost of 2004). It has been at some expense that I have done this. My years in San Francisco were accomplished in spite of a regular job elsewhere. But I journeyed on - it was what I enjoyed, it was what I wanted to do.
So what was I doing in the main aisle of the mother-church of Anglicanism on the West Coast? I was beginning to walk with them. I was starting my journey with them - my journey from Wittenberg to Canterbury. Later in the liturgy we sang a hymn that I always have loved, "Jesus Priceless Treasure". The tune introduced by Robert Gurney in a brief vorspiel reminded me of the countless times that I have sung it, Jesu, meine freude. But now, all of a sudden, sitting in the choir of this great church, new words met my eyes:
Jesus, all my gladness, my repose in sadness, Jesus, heaven to me; ah, my heart long plaineth, ah, my spirit straineth longeth after thee! Thine I am, O holy Lamb; only where thou art is pleasure thee alone I treasure.I began to cry. No change is made without some kind of loss - some kind of change! Perhaps the tears were a combination of things - loss, newness, change, promise, fear, resolution. It became clear to me, that the journey is merely on old one on a new road, with new companions. All of the emotions that accompany me on this journey are the just deserts of wanting to follow Jesus in what ever way possible. After 35 years on ministry it is time for a change! So I am keep this as a journal, so that I will know what it is that I am doing, and where it is that the Spirit is calling me.
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