Discernment, Prayers for Pastors

When we make the move (a prayer for pastors)

Lord, I wonder:

Where is the Spirit blowing me?

I want to know how you want to use me.
I want to know how I can serve you.

You know.

Sometimes the path seems clear,
the people congenial,
the call strong,
the moment right.

On a piece of paper there’s a church name,
an address,
a box number,
a URL.
On the screen there’s
a street view on Google Maps –
but is this the place?

(Is it a church at all?)

I want to go where you want me.
I want to serve where you need me.

It’s not about the desk,
or the window in the office,
or the height of the pulpit — really!
I swear to that.

I want to use the gifts you gave me,
to use them fruitfully,
for the benefit of your people, your world.
It sounds like the right place.
Please, help me to know for sure.

My office, somewhere.
My office, somewhere.

Be with me when I unpack my boxes,
put my books on new shelves,
arranging them just so:
Mark here, and Matthew, then Luke
and John, and Jung and Tillich and Barth.
Also Calvin.
Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza.
Borg and Crossan.
That book by Walter Wink I never read all the way through.

Be with me when I hang the picture
of the church I left,
that favorite Confirmation photo,
the wall hanging from the silent auction,
touched by hands of people who formed me.
Be gracious with them, Lord, and keep me
graciously at a distance, loving from afar,
leaving room for new love,
new attachments,
new photos.

Be with me when I stand among them,
no Messiah,
just a pastor,
faithful to you,
committed to them.
Help me bring the words of life
to life.

(Let the sound system work.)

Give me patience with their eccentricities,
and give them patience with mine,
love for all that is unique,
the kind of love you have for all of us. Amen.

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