Following Jesus on your Birthday.


For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

 (Ecclesiastes 3: 1)

 

I don’t think Jesus had much use for greedy Pharisees.  (Rev. Myra Garvin)

 

The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.  (Walter Brueggemann)

 

He has told you, O mortal, what is good,

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice and to love kindness

    and to walk humbly with your God?(Micah 6:8)

 

Today is my birthday.

 

Birthday’s are complicated things for me.  I love celebrations and will look for any excuse to have cake, and so my birthday is the perfect opportunity for all of that.  Tonight, Ruth Anne has promised me a chocolate cupcake at the Board meeting.  I’m pretty stoked about that.

 

But birthday’s often are an odd place of regret for me too.  Every year when my birthday rolls around I have these weird pangs of “how did I get here?” and “why am I not far more successful than this?”.  Truthfully, I have no idea what else I would be.  I left a steep career trajectory a long time ago because it didn’t fit at all with who I thought I was; and mostly, this has been a really good God-led choice for me.

 

Except when I consider what ‘success’ is from the lens of the people around me.

 

Last night I had a conversation with an acquaintance who has made life-choices that have widely diverged from mine.  They told me a story about being invited to speak at a place of some prominence in Toronto; and how they went First-class on the train with their spouse, stayed in a fancy hotel, ate at a fine restaurant, bought new clothes for the occasion; all on the organization’s bill.  The organization they were speaking at was a non-profit, that has a mandate of service to those on the margins.

 

I was simultaneously appalled and envious.  Appalled because, although I am fond of comfort and status, I wouldn’t make the choice to require a service organization to spend this kind of money; and haven’t we been in the business of scrutinizing people’s spending these days?  And envious because, well, like I said, I’m fond of comfort and status and secretly wish that people would just bestow it on me.

 

I raged about the whole conversation to my friend and mentor, Myra Garvin.  Myra is one of the few people I know who will a) respond to my late night texts and b) give me some pithy advice on the fly that will change my whole outlook.  Myra’s comment to me was the one I quoted above: “I don’t think Jesus had much use for greedy Pharisees”.

 

Ok. Zing!  But she’s totally right.  The problem, of course, is that while I profess to be a follower of Jesus, sometimes I find the whole Christian thing really really hard.  I find it really really hard to swim against the current of materialism and self centeredness.  I find it really really hard to choose justice, mercy and humility over power and prominence.  And I find it really really hard to listen to my call to prophetic ministry when the call of the dominant culture around me seems to yell really loudly, and God always seems to whisper in a ‘still, small voice’.

 

So today, my dear Bethel friends, I hope you will hold me in your prayers and help me listen with discernment to what God continues to call me to be.  Because sometimes its hard.  But its still worth it; and its exactly what I want for my life.

Blessings today and remember you are Loved,

~Rev. Lynne

 

 


2 thoughts on “Following Jesus on your Birthday.”

  1. I like that Walter Brueggemann quote…
    “The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”

    Reply
  2. ## Comment SPAM Protection: ShieldPRO marked this comment as “Pending Moderation”. Reason: Human SPAM filter found “iphone1” in “user_agent” ##
    Like Hugh, I also like the Brueggemann quote. And I think your ministry is exactly what he is talking about. Success itself and how we determine if we have achieved it means something different to each of us. In don’t think Jesus calls us to be successful but to be faithful. Keep on keeping on.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Click to access the login or register cheese