I have shared life with so many. I have walked to death’s door and then celebrated with those left after the door closed. I have held the hands and prayed for a human, fresh out of the oven, and knelt beside the sole survivor of a miscarriage. I have sat across tables and desks from people wondering if this “god thing” is real and if so then why? Why seems to be the question most solicited and the one, after two degrees and two decades of experience, I can’t answer.

I have buried children and married middle life crises. I have proclaimed, “Christ is Risen!” only to see eyebrows bend in disbelief. I have blessed water to claim people for God and passed out the flesh of Jesus to people who snatch it from my fingers tips. I am the preacher to napping and the absent-minded prayer warrior. Some days I walk humbly and others carry a big stick. Some days I’m invited through doors I would rather run from. On others, I’m simply lonely in a room full of banana pudding and fried chicken.

I am a pastor. I am a preacher. I am a minister. I am a reverend. I am a parson.

My experience, my ministry is a selfish motive for when I doubt I look back to those conversations and expectations of hope and faith. When I mourn I remember the promises proclaimed behind all those caskets. When I’m running and hiding in a cave, I remember the one who comes to find all those not looking to be found. When I stand behind the pulpit, wondering if any of my words make sense, I am reminded they weren’t mine to begin with.

Ministry has given me tools to get through life. My soul is etched with experience of the divine and the human. I have witnessed the offering of the widow and the elder son’s tantrum. I have welcomed the woman at the well and thrown a few stones myself. In all the moments of transfiguration and cocks crowing, God, for some reason, still calls to feed smelly sheep.

I am a pastor. I am a preacher. I am a minister. I am a reverend. I am only a person. I carry all the weight of your expectations thrust onto my shoulders. I robe up because this is my calling, my falling, my confession, my obsession, and my profession.

I am a pastor. I am a preacher. I am a minister. I am a reverend. I am a parson.

I am because I AM.

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