There have been three events recently in my life that have been significant to me. They are seemingly unrelated, but it will come together in the end.
Last week or the week before while driving to work on I-75, I saw a squirrel cross the road—cross I–75 to get to what? The median? What could be so important that a squirrel would leave trees and brush, cross two lanes of heavy traffic to get to a grassy median? Seriously—why?
Then a few days ago while riding my bicycle on the river walk near my house I observed a mama field mouse and her three babies cross the sidewalk on which I was riding. I stopped to observe and noticed that one baby mouse was lagging behind. The mother and two pups were in the grass and the pup on the sidewalk seemed lost. Then one of the pups in the grass poked his head out of the grass, perhaps made a noise, and the confused pup was re-oriented and reunited with litter.
Yesterday while attending my son’s ordination for ministry I observed a man, probably around my age (58), also receive his ordination.
Like the squirrel, I have been charting new territory—theologically. I’ve been dodging the “reformed,” “arminian,” “free-will,” “predestination” traffic as I’ve explored what it means to be a Methodist. It’s a new world, leaving the comfort of the trees and brush for the openness of the median. I’m still grappling with this whole thing, but the squirrel reminds me that if I don’t venture out, I’ll never know.
Like the confused, lost third mouse pup (yes, I looked it up and that is a correct term for a baby mouse), I need community to find my way. I need someone to come back and say, “Hey, it’s this way, come on, follow me.” There are several people doing that for me right now. Some are aware, some are doing it unawares. Nevertheless, they are showing me the way.
The older gentleman going through ordination is an inspiration to me—it’s never too late to begin anew.
The choices we make have a huge impact on the trajectory of our lives. —Anthony McPhail
When I was 21 or 22, the pastor of my home church, First Church of God, Newville, Pennsylvania, wanted me to go to seminary. I did not go and there have been several times that I regretted that choice. Then, while I was a campus minister, I thought of going to seminary. Both times I felt a bit of a tug, but I hesitated because…well, there are lots of reasons. Even while working in higher education, I occasionally would flirt with the idea. I have considered it more seriously in the past two years, but especially recently. Yesterday, the Bishop at my son’s ordination, gave an invitation to anyone wanting to go full–time ministry. I, again, did not respond. Partially because I’m not Methodist (yet) and I wanted to be sure it wasn’t just emotion. Plus, this was my son’s day, not mine.
In a few years I may be that “older gentleman” on stage being ordained. I don’t know yet, but I am exploring and appreciate your thoughts and prayers.