Seven years ago, I was trying to figure out what direction I was headed in, trying to hear God’s voice, trying to figure out what was actually next for me. I look back at those posts from 2010, and I see a younger me trying to let the process unfold as it should.
At every step, I’ve been fairly clear that the next thing to do is just the next right thing to do – whether it was another essay, or another form, or another class, or whatever presented itself next. I didn’t look far ahead like I usually did – I just did what I was meant to do next, because the big future planning hadn’t worked out so well for me, and why not actually trust God for a change?
Well, that next right thing process has now gotten me to this day, this day of my ordination into the Unitarian Universalist ministry.
Ain’t that a hell of a thing.
And here I am, at the culmination of a journey which is in fact the start of a journey. In these nearly seven years, I have leaned in, breathed deeply, and discovered the minister I am and the ministry I am called to – a ministry of the heart as much as a ministry of the arts – and for me it is less about being the artist and more about inspiring creation and creativity as our way to truth and right action.
The readings and songs that make up my ordination service are all very much about following that impulse: to enter the difficult sideways through the act and experience of creation, to open our hearts to a love that is limitless and unimaginably good, to leap boldly into possibility.
One particular piece, written by my friend, the Biblical scholar Celene Lillie, specifically for my ordination (what a gift it is!), is a narrative of the call of Mary Magdalene: Mary, who was not told to follow Jesus and learn from him, and whose words after his death were met with doubt, and whose very character was defiled by church fathers centuries after her death. Mary, whose call, Celene notes, “is not uncomplicated.”
Our calls are complicated – especially the calls of women who choose an alternative path in ministry. What does it mean to breathe into and step forward into a complicated call of the arts and the heart in a complicated world? I don’t know, and I suspect the sermon my mentor preaches today is going to challenge us to consider it…just as I will be challenged by this call every day.
But what I do know is that this call is full of color and movement, sound and excitement, chaos and stillness, truth and beauty, awe and wonder, openness and possibility, friendship and love.