A few weeks ago I was at the Upstate New York Synod “Welcoming Event” at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center. It was a time for all the pastors new to the synod to get together and meet the synod staff and the Bishop and one another. It was a time for us to hear the expectations that the synod has for us and for us to ask the synod staff questions.
Throughout the event there was a basket where we could write scripture passages that we talked about during our time together. Or we could write scripture passages that were meaningful to us while we were there.
During the final worship time we passed the basket around and we read the scripture passage that we picked out.
I have been reflecting on mine since I recieved it and here are some of my thoughts…..
2 Corinthians 4:5 “For we do not proclaim ourselves, we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake”
I have been asking myself why I got this verse. What is this verse saying to me? I think the last few weeks I have been praying alot about my pastoral identity. Coming into the church with my first call has been the biggest transition in my life — I think bigger than getting married or having children! When I was married or had kids I took on a new identity but that was tangible and there were set expectations that everyone new. There was something there that I could show people my new identity. But now it seems less tangible and less defined. Everyone has their own idea of what it means to be a pastor. I have had several mentor’s in my life guiding me along the way, helping me create my own pastoral identity and I have been thankful for that. However, it is a different ball game when I am out here on my own. There were many things that have happened here that did not happen when I was in other churches, and we did not talk about these things while I was in seminary. So the new experiences as a pastor, the new identity and getting to know the new community has been a big transition for myself as well as my family.
The one thing that has helped recently is reading 2 Corinthians 4: 5 on a daily basis. I remember that I am not the one to be proclaimed but it is Jesus that is being proclaimed. While I struggle with what I need in this transition the one thing that I can fall back on is Jesus. It is Jesus who is the head of this ship not me. I can do all I can in ministry but when it comes down too it, I am going to mess it up– but Jesus’ got my back and as long as I keep grounded in that, I know that I will be okay. I am not here to be anyone’s savior — but I am to point to the one who has already saved us all.
I am thankful for this verse in my life and the experience that I had at LCLC.