On June 10th, I am celebrating the 20th anniversary of my ordination! If you’ve been on my mailing list for awhile – or following this website – or seeing me on Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – you know all about this already. But, as time has gone by, my relationship to the celebration has changed slightly… so I feel free to tell you all about it yet again!
It starts with the Examen of Grace – a six step process of examining life for evidence of God’s grace. The first step is to walk back through the previous day with God, seeing it as God would see it. The second step is to give thanks for a gift of the day. The third step is to celebrate God’s empowering love in some time when you were loved or loving. The fourth step is to celebrate God’s undefeated love in some time when you were less than loved or loving. The fifth step is to ask for a specific grace for the day to come and the final step is to fully describe what that day will look like when it holds that grace.
I’ve been doing the Examen, fitfully, for decades but this year it has been one of my goals to do it monthly, seeing the gifts and grace that has been with me on a slightly larger and more regular basis. And, this morning, I used the Examen to look back at my years of ministry – where were the gifts, the evidence of empowering and undefeated love – as well as looking forward for the future years of ministry – what grace will I need for those years?
I had some help in doing that decades-long overview: a recently written, full and complete (I hope), Curriculum Vitae, Latin for “course of life.” Like a resume but covering every article written, public speaking event, major (and minor) project, etc., etc., etc.
Yes, I know I should have done it long ago but I didn’t – and now it was a huge project, involving aging paper, almost a decade of iCalendar, old cds of church files and documents, some of which only open in text interspersed with small blank boxes – and some that wouldn’t open at all. (I wonder what was so important that I wanted to save it but not important enough to reformat?)
But the most interesting thing in this process has been seeing the overview of my life, the arc of my ministry, the theme that ran through every congregation I’ve served and every job I’ve had and probably every sermon I’ve preached!
It’s an interesting way to see one’s self and one’s work and I strongly recommend creating one no matter what field you are in.
And no, I’m not going to tell you what I saw; you’ll need to be with me on June 10th for that – or read the Summer 2018 newsletter!
You can see details of the service here and of the fundraising to support new pastors here. And if you aren’t on my mailing list to receive my seasonal newsletter, you can join that here.
I hope you share my celebration with me in some way – and look for that arc in your own ministry. And if you and I have shared some part of either of those, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!