I had an incredibly holy experience this past Tuesday evening that really caught me off-guard (as such experiences often do).
In order to enrich and inform my calling as a pastor in my neighborhood, I have begun to take classes at a local, ecumenical seminary. They have been incredibly life-giving to me and I have learned so much already in my short time there.
This past Tuesday was no exception as I sat in a room with a few others to learn about and discuss christian ministry and faith formation. We could not be more different from each other in faith tradition, background, culture, and calling. Yet in sharing our stories of “calls” to ministry, something profoundly sacred happened in our midst: we became more known and we saw ourselves in each other.
As we each recounted our stories, we discovered two characteristics in common: we were created for a purpose that burned within us and we have struggled deeply with it. As we all had the realization that we were united in these ways, the room seemed quieter yet more alive at the same time. We could see and appreciate God’s hand of mercy on all of us. We could sense his enduring grace and loving patience in each person in the room. It was magnificent.
And for the first time in a long time, my view of the Church and her God was widened significantly. As much as we were different, in that moment, we were very much the same. As much as we could disagree on this and that, we dare not argue the validity of each one’s call.
We were all loved. We were all aware of our weaknesses. And we were all in awe of the God who wanted to use us for his kingdom in this world.
In hindsight, I should have removed my shoes because it was an encounter not unlike Moses and the burning bush: where God’s call meets human weakness, brokenness, and struggle and He overcomes it with a call to go and an assurance of his presence.
Holy ground, indeed.