Saturday, October 22, 2011

The stumbling journey onward

From Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA
With two of my students in Ethiopia
Before coming to EMU three years ago for graduate studies, I could hardly imagine that someday soon I would sense God calling me to be a teacher. The development of this sense has oftentimes been painful, but just as often, it has been exhilarating. My call to the set-aside ministry in the church, which preceded our coming to Virginia, has always been strong, but the steps along the way and the direction it’s heading are often frustratingly elusive.

I suppose this is consistent with the experience of the beloved community in Scripture. The progenitors of it all, Abram & Sarai, were compelled by a god, Yahweh, that they did not yet know into a journey they could not fathom, into lands that God would show them. That Israel, Jesus its Messiah, and his Church should follow in that tradition is a testament to trust and faithfulness, particularly from God’s end of the covenant.

So after stumbling along as a first-time teacher to ministers in Ethiopia, I returned home marveling at the joy I experience while teaching. Encouragement to continue on is met with excitement and frustration as I continue to discern what shape this may take after graduation in the spring.

[This post was prepared for use in worship at Park View Mennonite Church, Sunday, October 23, 2011. The lead pastor, Phil Kniss, asked for a strict limit of 200 words. In worship, this reflection will be delivered along with five others, whose reflections will together answer: 1) "How experiences or practices in my past have formed my understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus," 2) "What practices I currently engage in that nurture me and help me grow in my formation as a follower of Jesus," and 3) "Ways I believe God is calling me into new experiences or practices that are changing and stretching me in my formation as a follower of Jesus." This reflection falls in the third category.]

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