Licensed to the Gospel Ministry…

Yes, those are the words Pastor Amy said on May 23, 2010, during the Pentecost service at Calvary Baptist Church.  I had heard her say them before:  she said them out loud at our last quarterly business meeting, when the congregation affirmed unanimously the recommendation of the licensing committee; and she said them to me one day (it seems so long ago) when I went to talk to her about the strong and continual need I felt to step forward, to proclaim my faith, and to live my journey of faith for all to see.

But those words never meant more to me than they did that Sunday morning, standing in the front of that beloved sanctuary, the wonderful members of the congregation before me, and the members of my licensing committee surrounding me.  And as my friend Allyson Robinson led us in the most beautiful prayer (which you can read by visiting Pastor Amy’s blog),  I felt a most sublime sense of peace, oneness and purpose, more than ever before in my years of struggle and striving to “be something” in this world.  All of that, infused with humility and awe at what has passed before, what lies ahead, and what IS, that is a moment and a feeling I will use to sustain me through whatever awaits me as I continue to listen, pray and move my feet, as the Shaker’s would say.

The hardest thing to explain about that moment is, well, it was a moment.  Not like getting something or accomplishing something,  but just a moment — a beautiful moment in which I could feel everything that was possible and all that I am meant to be and all that the community around me can be and  do together to live out God’s call in this time and in this place.

And now?  Allyson, always the eloquent one, summed it up when she saw me in the hall afterwards:  “Well, feel the weight of that call on your life yet?”

Yes, Allyson, I do. But it feels like maybe for the first time ever, it will all be alright.

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