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Archive for February, 2014

Serving at the Table

February 16, 2014 1 comment

Today, I visited a church where I will be doing an internship of sorts this summer. It’s a totally different setting from other churches where I have worked and so today I just went to observe and listen and to pay attention to what goes on there.

I have to admit, I wandered in my mind during parts of the service. Over the past couple of months, I have been wrestling with God about calling and ministry. God has heard some pretty angry words from my heart. As I realized some of the potential in this space, I started to get excited. Now, usually that would be a good thing. But I was frustrated as I want to run from ministry these days. I’ve been reflecting on my experiences lately, trying to glean lessons from them, especially as I embark on projects. And a recent ‘aha’ moment enlightened why I am so reluctant to get involved again in leadership. My most “successful” week in which God daily added to our numbers and conversations with children, youth and their families went pretty deep – was also an experience where I felt utterly and completely alone and void of comfort. I won’t go into all the details of what happened that week, but there is a side of the story that doesn’t get told in the joyful celebration of what God did. And believe me, it was amazing and I am blessed to have been a part of that experience. But that deep sense of alone-ness haunts me. Is this what it means to be successful in kingdom work? As I’ve presented this question to God over the past few months, I’ve followed it up with – if it is, then no thanks! I have contemplated, once again, if I should just quit school and get a real job. Data entry. something like that.

And then, unexpectedly, the priest needed someone to serve the chalice and asked me. And I held the cup and looked into each person’s eyes saying “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation”. I have no words to describe this experience. There was something profound and beautiful at being able to share in this sacred moment with other Christians. To remind in words and actions that Christ died for their salvation, that the blood of Christ was poured out for them as this cup of wine was given to them. It was a holy moment. A beautiful moment.

And as I served at the table – I found myself saying yes.

yes to serving. even if it is hard. even if it is lonely.

yes to walking with people, in their brokenness and in their joy.

yes to serving the cup of salvation and reminding others that Christ died for them.

Interestingly, as I’ve been reading about the priesthood and talking to God about my calling, one thing I have said to God is that I have never felt a call to serve at the table. I feel a call to write, to preach, to counsel, to lead, to disciple. But not to serve at the Lord’s table. I could see myself doing it, but never felt called.

Today, I felt called. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Manna from Heaven

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This picture went around facebook today and I definitely understand this definition! A couple of months ago, I moved into my own apartment in the basement of a house. The blessings are enormous. There is a family from church that lives upstairs and I am really enjoying getting to know them. Their five year old is darling and comes and hangs out with me. Lately, she has been making cards for me daily and dropping off notes with her own rendition of my name after spelling it out: Alisabith.I live within walking distance of so many friends and church members, church itself and so many fun and quirky mom-and-pop kind of stores. I’m a short subway ride to campus. I love my place and I am truly blessed.

However, my rent went up by more than a little and my savings went into last month’s rent. I live paycheque to paycheque and so there’s not been a whole lot. For some reason, the past couple of months have been way tighter than I had hoped. With the holidays, there are extra expenses and a dropped income, books to purchase for a new semester and setting up home has its own expenses. Oh how I hate financial stress!

Still, in the midst of fretting, I have been reminded of God’s providence and the daily call to put my whole trust in him. In reflecting on the past few months, I’ve found myself thinking of the Israelites wandering the desert and the manna that God would provide for them. Manna from heaven that would fill them up. Enough for that day, but not enough to store away. It required that they daily go out and collect what they need. And to daily trust that the God who provided for this day will also provide for tomorrow. Knowing my own heart, I can see myself hording the manna in case God lets me down!

Money seems to be flowing like that desert manna. It is often a daily thing. I have just enough cash to last me until today. I have been careful with my pennies, buying only what I need and conserving transportation costs and walking as much as possible. Sometimes I don’t have a plan for tomorrow. Sometimes I trust God in those moments. Other moments I’ve been brought to tears. I’d say it’s the latter more often – there is more month than money!

But manna shows up in the friends who offer ttc tokens. In the church that paid for me to go to a conference. In the random and unexpected money that has come through the mail. In the friends who invite me for a warm meal. In the various one off endeavours that have supplied money until the next opportunity. In the relatives and friends who have helped me out in a pinch.

I am thankful to say that I am moving out of this stage and entering a bit more stability. I have several part time jobs that are now bringing in steady income and, once tuition is paid off, will provide a comfy buffer. I have accepted a summer job – one that I never went seeking.

And as I move from depending on the manna in the desert to maybe a time in a land flowing with milk and honey – I hope that I can continue to trust God for my daily sustenance, my daily bread. and I hope that I can be as generous to others as they have been to me, attentive to needs and opening my home and kitchen.