[Image Description: There is a white background. A black marker is writing on a red heart and finishing writing the letter E on the word ‘Love.’]
Today is the 7th anniversary of my ordination.
That ordination service, filled with loved ones, was one of the most meaningful moments of my life. Every year on this date, I think about the people who were connected to that moment.
I had moved formally in the direction of ordination for seven years, so it was a long time coming. The people in my home church in New Albany, Indiana nurtured that direction and taught me a lot about what was possible in living in community with one another. My college friends in Louisville accompanied me in making the decision to move in this direction. My seminary professors and classmates at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary introduced me to so much learning and helped me discern my interests and sense of calling.
My ordination service took place at University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, the first congregation I served. I marvel at how many significant people came into our lives during our years there — people with whom I’m still in regular conversation all the time. Truly, so many of them, and truly, all the time. There’s a big diaspora of us who were there together and have since moved all over the country.
My ordination service took place on behalf of Pasadena Presbyterian Church, the congregation that was calling me to a new role. I had already been serving there for a while, but now, I would be ordained. I was really touched that some of them traveled to Austin for the service. All of them remembered me during that service and felt connected to the moment, even if they were far away. This congregation nurtured so much creativity in me, and to this day, I’m so grateful for that.
And of course, that ordination service eventually led me to other places and other communities beyond that time. Every community has added to me. Every community has taught me so much. Every community has been filled with significant relationships. They’ve all shaped who I’ve become.
Last week, I spent some time with Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Mequon, Wisconsin. One day, I was with a circle of people who have been reading the Bible together for years. After exploring a passage together, I asked,
“Have you ever had a moment when you were loved beyond what you expected?”
In response to that question, people told powerful stories. I appreciated hearing those.
When I look at this trajectory — ordination, and all that has come with it — it hasn’t always been easy. There have been challenges too.
But above all,
the seven years that prepared me for this, and
the seven years that followed,
have led to many occasions when I’ve been loved beyond what I’ve expected.
That’s also how I feel about the whole of it.
And I’m grateful.