This week and this time of season presents me with a mixed bag of blessings and lament.
The blessings include celebrating Moses' birthday, the advent of summer that brings joyful activities like VBS, Teen Camp, and maybe a little travel. The lament is the changing and transition of relationships. In Wilmore we're in a cycle of people becoming educated to then move into the broader world. This spring three fine young couples will be changing their addresses. They've been a part of our ministry at church, interns from the Seminary and College and life is changing for them. It's also time to see HS seniors make an uncomfortable withdrawal from the Student Ministry at WFMC. The summer after HS has got to be one of the most awkward summers of a persons life. Some people have responsibilities, a little work here or there - but there's a great existential question for thickener, where do I belong for today? Most know where they came from, and most have an idea where they are going, but for today . . .
It's hard on the heart to say goodbye and watch this withdrawal. This must be a prelude for what every parent undergoes when their little baby drives off into the sunrise of a new adventure.
I've been reading M. Scott Peck's, People of the Lie. The book comes with a warning that it is dark. I have found it to be so, and maybe to call it dark is a bit shy of the reality.
This morning I started the chapter following the one on Exorcism. Here's a little jolting thought: "The ordinary parish priest or minister is not in so fortunate a position (to be devoted to the task of being an Exorcist). The evil she or he commonly encounters in parishioners, in vestry meetings, and in society is not so discrete or curable. Is is more subtle and penetrating and devastating. And no matter how loving and intelligent, such a clergy-person must battle blindly with the forces of darkness. There will seem to be a few, if any, clear successes." (pg.212)
If M. Scott Peck is right then it has two conclusions for me. 1) It is no wonder that so many people leave the ministry year after year. We live in a success oriented culture and we wane when a battle is long. 2) The chief point of encouragement is to be found in the technology of prayer - which I find myself employing far to little.
With that, I must make my way to the house. May I make the time to pray today.
A prayer for those in transition.
O God, in this season of life when we see nothing going on - we turn to you and ask that you would not go on vacation. Please be at work in our lives, confirm in us our worth to you. We've heard speeches of promise, yet we're not quite sure where that promise lies, some fog of the future is what we hear about. Today however, we're here in no man's land, remembering yesterday thinking of tomorrow. Grant us your presence - that we may rejoice in today.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.