A Reflection On 10 Years Ordained
-Rev Melissa Fain-
This morning marks one of those milestones one has to mark when they reached them. Milestones can either be earned through determination or hard work, or they can just happen whether you want them to or not. Ordination is the later. I can't undo it. It is a moment in history that will continue to grow farther away. How a minister spends their time after being ordained, tints how these big milestones feel. Let me begin by saying: I thought I'd be somewhere else.
I thought I'd be somewhere else...
You have no idea how passionate I was about Church 10 years ago. I was ready to jump in and get started. I even had a plan! I was going to start in a small church that felt called to take on new ministers. They would help me as I would help them. Then, when it was time, I would take a bigger church job. My kids would grow up in the church. They would be blessed and baptized. The congregants would celebrate as my kids would reach their own milestones. It was a beautiful picture. Very Thomas Kincad-esk.
Reality is a bitch. (Honestly I've wanted to write "bitch" for Thursday's meditation, and "All part of God's plan" was better than "Destiny's a bitch." Now we're here, and you've been caught up. Reality's a bitch.) If you notice my pretty view above all of it was taking place IN the church. I've yelled about churches being really good at using evangelism to only put out pretty welcome mats. Well, I used to be all about those stupid mats. I was the maker of mats. Oh yes, just put out a nice enough sign in front of the building and they'll come flocking in. I even made a few pretty signs in my day! Really. I was such a glorified idiot.
The worst part is in recalling back, that it didn't really matter. It was empty work that gained nothing, that did nothing, that wasted resources for nothing. Don't coddle me on this one. I have 20/20 vision. (Crap, Of course the 10 year anniversary would fall on 2020. I didn't mean it as a pun, but now I guess it is one. Moving on.) I needed to be broken, because I had built myself into the very fabric of those chairs the church bought to replace the pews because they thought they could be moved around. Now they just sit were the pews were because no one considered what a pain it would be to move the chairs around all the time. Those chairs, like my time and resources, are empty. Are worthless. They have gained nothing.
God broke me out...
Yes, I do mean that as a pun. God broke me out of church.
Well, here's where things are a little messy. I don't believe it's helpful to throw around "It was all part of God's plan," all willy-nilly whenever someone gets hurt or loses someone. Let's get this clear before I continue: God did not hurt you, people hurt you. God's not closing doors to open windows. What kind of joke is that? Sometimes God opens doors really wide to have someone else think it's their door, go through it and close it in your face. No, we don't give ourselves enough credit in our ability to mess up God's creative force.
This is me. I am only talking about my story when I write this. I personally felt I was called to walk into brokenness. I wish I was able to see things as a spectator, but I was created to need to live pain in order to understand pain. I also knew the secret to ministry. If I had played my cards right, and didn't talk about what happened; I'd just be ushered into a new congregation where I would start again. Ah, such a beautiful scenario that never came to be because I had this feeling I was never meant to really walk back into church ministry. Oh, I made a couple of failed attempts. I would let them know I was still doing the "Fig Tree thing," like that was only a side project, even though I knew it wasn't. When it all came to a head, and the choice was Fig Tree (ministry to the broken outside the church) or Church ministry, I finally made the right choice.
A minister in the wrong ministry are chains that hold us captive from God's call.
You might have no idea how freeing it is to just do what God calls you to do! It's not about the paycheck. It's not about the time. It's about the call. If I do something ministry related I don't think, "Are they going to fire me because I just did this?" "They" won't, because they don't own me with a salary. Wow, that's a lot of power for one 39 year old girl to wield. Let this statement sink in just a bit:
While you find your comfort in your paycheck, I find my power in my calling.
Did the people pictured above know what they were helping ordain?
I'm gonna say no. My sister, pictured directly to my right had no idea, and I (the person being ordained) really had no idea. How would anyone else have any clue? I've learned a few things over the past 10 years: I'm dangerous because I can't be bought, and I've already walked through the fire and survived. I'm scary for the same reasons, and I've proven that I'm not after a job, but a call. Now I'm also free.
Watch out. These next ten years are going to be crazy.