Saturday, December 02, 2006

Celebrating Kelli's call

I was present the day Kelli realized she could preach.

It was a Spirit-filled moment in an upper room and the "congregation" was our Educational Ministry of the Church class. We had designed a worship ritual for our small group and she agreed to do a brief proclamation as part of our service. When she rose to speak, wonderful, meaningful words poured forth. I was not so much surprised as overtaken by her presence -- hers and the Spirit's.

Creating that worship space and entering into the worship we had envisioned for our classmates was one of the joys of my first semester in seminary. And, while Kelli had spoken in public before, maybe she had even spoken from a pulpit before, she really wasn't confident she could speak any worthwhile words. But she didn't tell me that until after.

There was power in her presence and confidence. I rejoiced in her words but I rejoiced more in the moment, realizing I was seeing Kelli embrace her role as a preacher. The vision of her preaching is etched so clearly in my mind, that I told Kelli I had a photo of it. But I didn't. I hadn't taken pictures during our worship, I took them after. So this is what I have, a picture of Kelli in the moments after she realized she could preach. (I kind of imagine the Holy Spirit hanging out in that chair right next to her.)

That was last year.

This year, I was present the day Kelli realized she could pray.

Pray one on one with someone in semi-public during a healing service when you hear the concern and then start praying.

I led a healing service at Claremont School of Theology on Wednesday night. Kelli came over to the chapel to help me set up and I asked her if she would help during the service by annointing with oil and praying with folks. She readily agreed. And she did a wonderful job. I know because I saw it, and I know because I experienced it. After I was through annointing and praying with others, I went to Kelli and she prayed healing prayers for my heart, the places where there is still brokenness.

It was two days later that she told me she had never prayed like that before and she hadn't really known she could. But there she was again with a gentle and confident presence. And I was not the only person to tell her how meaningful her prayer was.

Kelli and I are both in worship class this year, but we are not in the same small group, so I was not there on Thursday when her World AIDS Day service wowed her class. I was there right after. I needed to talk to the professor, and he was with her group. There was still a strong Spirit in the the room and all the people who remained were affirming for Kelli that her worship had been wonderful. I immediately remembered our worship together of a year ago, and I knew what I had missed, but I was thrilled for those who got to experience it. And, I was thrilled for Kelli.

Kelli had designed the worship service for the church where she is an intern in San Diego, and it was held last night on World AIDS Day. I wanted to be there, but I spent the afternoon and evening in the CST library completing a final paper. What I didn't know was that Kelli wasn't really a participant in the worship, she had designed it for others to deliver.

As I drove home to San Diego last night, I called Kelli to see how it went. And, of course, it had gone well. But the true gift of that conversation was getting to hear Kelli talk with such passion and grace about her call. This had been a week of confirmation of her call, she told me.

And I rejoiced that I get to continue to be not only part of her journey but part of the confirmation of her call.

Thanks be to the loving and wonderful Spirit of God.

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