Friday, February 19, 2010

Three Reasons to Stay in Ministry

One of my Lenten practices this year is to be able to find, in each day, something that points to the joy of ministry, particularly ministry in the local church.

One of my frustrations in the local church ever since I started working in one five years ago was my immediate discovery that you could speak the truth in the newsroom and newspaper far more freely than you can speak the truth in the church. This is a challenge for me for multivalent reasons.

So, rather than live into or out of those frustrations, I have chosen this Lent to find in each day something that brings joy or meaning in local church ministry.

On Ash Wednesday, the list was enormous.

Here are three:

The woman who told me after our small, intimate evening Ash Wednesday service how meaningful it was and how she felt she had found her home in our church.

A longtime journalism friend who is grilling me with questions on the Bible and belief each Wednesday in our new Bible study, adding a new dimension not just to our friendship but to my ministry.

A conversation of hope in the future with our music director as we prepared for worship. He then beautifully played Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as his piano prelude, knowingly bringing a piece of exquisite beauty, unknowingly bringing my father into the moment as well.

I still long for a day when speaking truths in church and church meetings is as free as free speech. Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech were meant to walk hand in hand. And the gospel message is intended to set all people free.

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