Monday, May 07, 2007 AD For They Shall Be Filled Looking at my ecclesiastical history, some might reckon me a church hopper. I've been a member of 5 congregations in my 39 years...4 in about the past 16 years. But although I mightn't have made every transfer of membership with the greatest of wisdom or finesse, I think I can honestly say that each move was motivated by hunger for righteousness. In some cases it was a desire to see God's name more hallowed, in others to grow in my sanctification, and usually some combination of both.
The last move I made was the hardest because I had come to take church membership very seriously, and because I had developed close friendships in the congregation that I knew would probably not long survive my departure. I was starving and I was frustrated and I knew nothing was going to change as long as I stayed, but I knew leaving was a weighty matter. I remember one night I ended up on my hands and knees on the floor, sobbing and praying that if God wanted me to stay, even at the expense of my sanctification, I would stay. Not long after, I had the opportunity to speak with one of my pastors about my issues. Pastor Wy was the only one of the three who'd never been regaled with tales of my frustrations, and he was exactly the one who needed to hear them. "You need to go," he kindly, relievingly said, and I went.
CREC was supposed to be a stopping point on my way to St. Peter, but the longer I stopped, the more I realized that there was no need to move 400 miles away to find what I wanted. What have I found? Liturgy that points Godward, music that doesn't sound like commercial jingles, preaching that reveals the text rather than the preacher, communion that unifies...every Sunday, people to serve, children to love, women to emulate, men to respect, shepherds to follow.
That last item has been a particularly revolutionary blessing. As a woman who has never had a father or husband to lead her, being led by faithful shepherds has had a transforming effect on my life. For the first time in my life I am under godly male authorities who effectively "watch out for [my soul], as those who must give account." And for the first time in my life, I feel secure. I know that ultimately I must look to the Great Shepherd for my security, and that objectively I have always been perfectly secure in His care, but in these under-shepherds, whose role He ordained, He has given me a much clearer picture of what being secure looks and feels like. My elders aren't perfect men, but I do worship the water they walk on. ;-)
And in just two more weeks there'll be another water-walker in our midst. It was announced yesterday that the ballots are in and the congregation has unanimously voted to call Dr. Glen Knecht to be our new teaching elder. When Pastor Knecht candidated on Easter Sunday, the congregation was able to dialogue with him a bit after the service. As I wrote to Pastor and Mrs. Knecht later that week, "I didn't realize there was going to be a Q&A time, so I didn't have a chance to work up the courage to ask any questions, but I could only think of a rhetorical one, anyway: Why does God love us so much that He would send you to us?" Other area pastors keep saying things to our REs like "You've won the pastor lottery" and "How in the world did you manage to get Glen Knecht?"
I'm getting fuller every day as I feast on bread and wine and the Word in the green pastures of my beloved church. I'm finally making progress in dealing with sin patterns that have just defeated me for decades. I'm finding great joy in learning to serve and love others. I am liking this new experience of contentment. God is good! Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 5/07/2007 06:15:00 PM
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