Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Waiting

The violent attack on innocent young lives in Newtown Ct. happened right in the middle of our Advent season.  A season of waiting.  This morning I was starkly reminded of the power of waiting, as I dropped my kids off at school; knowing that many kids are scared today because the illusion of peace had been stripped bare over the weekend.  It will take time to heal.

The sad and horrific event reminds us that we desperately need a Prince of Peace.  We need God-with-Us for our world to change.  We pray this Advent for a day when violence will be no more for all of our children.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hopeful

No one can really prepare you for the life changing moment that happens when you become a parent for the first time.  I can remember holding Eva just moments after she was born.  I felt overwhelmed with love while at the same time, I felt utterly helpless in how I could possibly provide for her all that she would need to grow and to thrive.

No one in my immediate family could have fully prepared me, or coached me about being a pastor and raising kids in the church.  I had heard from adult PK's about the trials of living under the microscope of the congregation, but really had no idea what I was getting them into.

What has taken me sometime to figure out is how to juggle the expectations of being a mom and also being a pastor.  I am not sure my male colleagues have the same struggles, but we women put a lot into our expectations for what a mom, a working mom, can accomplish outside of work, and then you have a congregation that needs to meet in the evenings and early in the morning and at times when you are out to dinner to celebrate with your family (in emergency situations).

I suppose all working moms do the careful dance of learning how to balance/juggle/maintain career and motherhood.

Each time I have had a new ministry position on the horizon, my first worry is about how I will be able to meet the needs of my congregation and my children, from the reality of not being able to be in two places at once.  Will I be able to afford childcare for evening meetings if my husband is out of town?  Who will I get to watch my children?  Will the church offer childcare?  What will I do if there is an emergency on a Saturday and my husband is working or out of town?

So here is the place where I brag about my current congregation, they are so amazing in embracing my family and our needs so that I can minister to them.  When Dan was out of town, one family has on two occasions watched my son, first so I could officiate at a funeral and then to stay home with him on a Sunday he was running a fever.  When my kids have a performance at school and a meeting is scheduled they are okay with me going to the performance.  My husband, congregation and I have gotten into a nice rhythm that is a smooth symphony.  In regard to my congregation I believe it because they would do the same for anyone, not just the pastor's family.  They truly live up to the call to be a caregiver for any child, be it with a crying kid while mom is singing in the praise band, or to sit with a child when dad is reading scripture.

A lot of the solutions to making sure that my kids are being taken cared of where solutions I had not imagined before moving to El Paso.  What used to be a worry is no longer.  And I hold this as an example for how we as a church can move forward into the uncertain future, we may not have all or any of the answers right now but we walk forward nonetheless.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Feeding the Hungry

Part of  my calling to serve Christ comes from my deep passion to meet both spiritual and physical needs in the world.  Those of us in church circles call that having a theology of social justice.  As a pastor I find that most of my ministry falls heavily on the spiritual needs side but on the rare occasion that I can go somewhere to serve, be it in my neighborhood or across borders, I am able to participate in ministry that meets physical needs.  I have been part of missions in country and out of country.  I have seen how people in the third world live.

Shortly after moving to El Paso, Pastor Julian Ibarra the pastor of the nesting Hispanic congregation in my church building, came to me and told me of the desperate need for food, for rice and beans in Cd. Juarez.  So we began a collection that I have been a part of now for four years.  Yesterday I attended their worship service and participated in the blessing of the gifts that my congregation and other congregations have contributed to.

What I found so amazing is hard to put into words.  For someone who grew up in the Midwest I find it to be such a wonderful gift to be able to be part of a worship service held in Spanish, with people who still have ties to those living in war torn Juarez.  Who despite all that has gone wrong in that city, in either their country of birth or their parent's country of birth they still come together and sing praise to God.  They still hold onto a faith that God will help them to make things right.

And while it is more than apparent that I am an outsider when I walk into their fellowship, I am perhaps the only one with that perception.  I am treated like a beloved child of God and my soul is fed when I gather with them.  I thank God for the generosity of my congregation and for the power of God to transform our hearts when we give generously to others. I thank God for Pastor Julian and his keen insight into his community in Cd Juarez, his desire to help those who are hungry and to offer us an opportunity to help.

Waiting

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