A call to ordained ministry, to lifelong service, is the same as any other committed relationship. On the day of ordination, I made promises to God which were as solemn and as meaningful as those I made on my wedding day. When I became Pastor here, I made promises to you - the people I serve and to God. I also promised to take care of my own self and my relationship with God, in order to live a fulfilled life and to serve better. As anyone in a long-term relationship knows, relationships take time and attention to keep them healthy and vibrant. They can go through ups and downs, but we need to keep working at them. As many of us can testify, our relationship with God is no different.
A long time ago, I attended a conference where one of the speakers described his relationship with God as “a romance”. I thought this was a beautiful idea, and it really changed how I spent time with God. Recently someone I was talking with used exactly the same phrase and I was reminded that maybe I haven’t been spending the quality time with God that makes all the difference in a relationship. It is possible to sit in the same room as someone else, without actually giving them any loving or thoughtful attention. I wrote a list in my spiritual journal of what I learned in 20 years of human marriage and am now trying to apply those earthly lessons to my sacred marriage to God. I am being mindful of God’s presence as I go about my ordinary day, taking time to pause and to chat, to ask God’s opinion and share my experience of the day. Each morning I still have my quiet time, just to be and to prepare for the day. However, I am re-learning to pause during the day as well, to feel God woven into the fabric of each moment. It takes practice and patience, but to borrow words of one of our worship songs:
“God has my heart and I am God’s forever.”