It has been a strange week-end. My week-end really began with my interview with the Candidacy Committee on Friday at 3:30 (for more on that experience, see this blog post). The interview itself only lasted 45 minutes, and then there was the waiting for the results, and the short final session where I got the positive results. I was on my way home by 5:00 p.m., feeling like the world had shifted a bit, but all those other people in their cars had no idea.
On Saturday, I sorted, sorted, sorted. For years, I had resisted looking at my boxes of memorabilia, but last week-end, after seeing how many photos I held onto for reasons that are beyond me now, I decided it was time to tackle the memorabilia. In my younger years, I kept an assortment of notes, cards, receipts, all sorts of memorabilia, in shoe boxes.
It was interesting to take a quick look through the notes and cards, to think about the people with whom I am still in contact, the people I've lost to the ages, and the ways that Facebook helped some of us find each other again. It was interesting to come across a stash of letters, agendas, retreat worship services, and publicity from my Lutheran Student Movement days in undergraduate school.
While the shoe boxes were loosely organized by years, I didn't put them in the larger box in any organized way, so I looked through my memorabilia in ways that were out of order: here's the stuff that 9 year old Kristin wrote and kept, here's the stuff from undergraduate school, here's a bit from early married life, and now we're back to high school; here and there is a random picture, young parents with a baby, and I know that the baby is grown now. I look up, the sun is setting, and some part of me can't comprehend what year it is, or how the concept of linear time even makes sense at all.
Yesterday at church, the choir sang "Here I am Lord" as Gathering Music. I have always loved this song, with its lyric of God calling in the night, and being willing to be called. I first heard/sung it at a Lutheran Student Movement gathering in 1984 or so, and we continued to sing it long before it showed up in our Lutheran hymn books.
That song always makes me think about our ideas of what it means to be called, how we interpret that out in the world (and now, I will always think about answering that question for the Candidacy Committee). I thought about all the people I have known who have experienced a call from God differently than I have--off they went to seminary, right after undergraduate school, convinced that serving in a parish was what God needed them to do. I thought of all the people who are finally finding/taking time to go back to school at midlife, and how many of us are headed to seminary, not other types of school.
I thought back to our Lutheran Student Movement days, when some of us were convinced that the churches of our childhood had value, and others of us wished that church could be more like our LSM groups. I still wish that, and I am glad about the changes that have come to the churches of my childhood. When my fellow college students were discerning our calls, Lutheran churches had only grudgingly begun to allow women's ordination, but the path to a pastorate was difficult. One of my female friends went to a Baptist seminary in 1987, only to be told midway through that women would no longer be ordained.
I'm not sure that the situation has changed for Southern Baptists, but for many other Christians, the churches that existed in the mid-1980's are very different now. It will be even more interesting to see what the coming decades bring, and how we'll answer those calls.