It’s been more than awhile since I’ve blogged, and I must admit…I’m probably more disappointed than anyone else might be! I’ve been realizing more and more recently how much I truly love writing and how therapeutic it is for me. As you can imagine, lots has happened in the last couple of months, so falling behind in blogging is really tough! What do I say? Should I tell you about my Holy Week and Easter resurrection experiences? Catch you up on my dad’s cancer? Tell you about how I’ll be studying conducting in Paris this summer? Or maybe I should tell you about my men’s homeless choir singing The Temptations, like my friend Eric requested? Or about my new learnings on vocational discernment? Or perhaps something lighter, like the things I find to be hilarious after my first day at the Metro-DC Synod Assembly? I guess I’ll try to do some sort of “mash up,” as Pastor Karen would say (…we love mixing and matching when we plan worship at Luther Place!).
Well, I asked for resurrection, and I got it…beyond April 4th and our Easter celebration of the risen Lord. Somehow, this cloud of darkness that I felt so intensely for a few weeks in March lifted, and I experienced (or chose?) JOY. It all began with a joyous Easter Vigil, the day before Easter. In collaboration with others, I somehow came up with this crazy idea to do a large fabric installation in the sanctuary of Luther Place. I’m talking 1,000 feet of white silk, draping from the ceiling. (See more photos here.) As we lifted the fabric, it lifted my spirits! How can you not get excited about resurrection? And as my dad so eloquently reminded me while I visited home over Easter, the same power that RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD is the power that’s working in our lives!!! Whether or not you actually believe that, it’s quite awe-inspiring just to spend time thinking what if? What if that’s true? I feel convinced that it is, largely because I’ve seen resurrection power in other people’s lives. In fact, while our team was working on this fabric installation, another resurrection story was happening right before us. A young man from Thailand came into the sanctuary and began talking to Pastor Karen. He mentioned that he was just visiting DC for the week but has been interested in being baptized. He said he’s Buddhist but has been thinking seriously about Christianity for the last 6 years…it’s just not accessible to him where he currently lives. The ironic part of this story is that Pastor Karen had been hoping and praying for a baptism for that evening’s Easter Vigil service! So after a short conversation, she told him to come back that evening and she’d baptize him. We had no idea if he’d show, but sure enough, come 6pm, he was there and ready to be baptized. It was, by far, the most moving baptism I have ever witnessed. We gathered as a church community around the baptismal font and did it all on the fly (without a hymnal to rely on!)… and since we weren’t reading from the page, it all came from our hearts. Now that is resurrection. Unplanned, mysterious resurrection.
But somehow, despite lots of Easter joy, I still struggle with unhappiness. I randomly attended a vocational discernment workshop recently… (I know what you’re thinking – you haven’t gotten enough of that yet?!) It was another one of those experiences where I’m not sure why I went, but in the end, I sure was glad that I did. We talked a bit about consolation and desolation. In short, consolation is a feeling of happiness and desolation a feeling of sadness or emptiness. But it’s not that simple. Positive things don’t always result in consolation, and negative things don’t always lead to desolation. As Rev. Rebecca Schlatter described this, I found myself nodding along in complete understanding. How many times have I been out in fun social settings and felt completely empty? And how many times have I experienced beauty and grace through tragedy? I feel like I can barely wrap my mind around this at times. Why the feelings of emptiness? Rebecca described consolation as times when you feel both loved and loving… I guess I have to work on that. In the meantime, I’m still working on that vocation piece. I came home from the workshop and Allison asked me if I had my life figured out. Beyond knowing that I’m called to love people, no… I definitely don’t have anything figured out.
Now, it’s no surprise to me that many of you secretly hope I’ll go to seminary. Most people kindly don’t talk to me about it, though I know you’re thinking about it. And I guess in some ways I’ve moved from being completely opposed to going to seminary to just sort of rejecting it. Some days I think to myself, you’ve got the gifts and there’s the need…might as well! But other days (perhaps like today?) I think, I love sharing my faith, and the last role I’d like to do that in is that of a pastor! You see, I’m currently writing this post from the Synod Assembly. It’s my first one, and I have to admit…I wasn’t terribly excited to come. If there’s one thing I hate more than meetings and Robert’s Rules of Order, it’s meetings with a bunch of pastors implementing Robert’s Rules of Order. What happens when you put 300 similar personalities into a room? Well, when we weren’t busy arguing over climate change or the second coming, everyone seemed to be fighting to be the center of attention, having their chance to preach a mini-sermon or welcome the young adults or make some biblical pun. Bleh!! To be honest, I’m feeling more and more like I am able to make more of an impact because I’m a “hip” (enough) young adult who is (relatively) normal who happens to also be passionate about God and faith. Somehow, I think that if I were to go the seminary route, I would actually lose favor with a lot of people…especially young adults who are unsure about church. Besides…if I became a pastor, I’d have to attend these Synod Assemblies every year for the rest of my life.
Anyway, I’m at one thousand fifty-seven words and counting…rambling on about vocation and God and consolation and desolation and resurrection! It’s where I’m at right now, and it isn’t easy.
So for a change in subject matter, I’ll blog next about music + homelessness, so get excited about that one. And if you’re interested in staying updated on my dad’s health, check out his website.
Grace and peace!