Today’s Collect, for the Third Sunday of Lent, always encourages me to think about my own ministry. It encourages me to evaluate where it is, where it’s been, and where it might be going. Of course, the third part of that is the most difficult, and I’m not sure I ever really come up with any answers, but will keep praying, “give us insight to discern your will for us”.
For many years, I’ve strongly believed that where God calls, he also enables. It’s something that has helped me enormously through some bad patches in my ministry. And for years it has been true. Surprisingly, for this incredibly shy person, I have been able to exercise an up-front Church based ministry, something I never thought would be possible.
Preaching has always been a large part of what I felt God was calling me to. Who would have thought that this man who finds it hard to talk to someone one-to-one could possibly preach God’s word to a church full of people? The service I’ve found most fulfilling for my ministry, though, has been Evensong. It’s a much smaller service in terms of congregational numbers: but that adds an intimacy that isn’t present in the larger services, especially as we’re all gathered together in the chancel rather than spread out in the much larger main body of the church. At an Evensong service, I not only get to preach, but also to sing; something that has seemed even more unlikely than preaching. And yet both have been possible because of God’s enabling — what he called me to do, he also enabled.
I still believe that where God calls he also enables. But now I wonder, too, if the obverse of God’s enabling might also be true; ie. where God does not enable, he is not calling. Or more particularly in my case, where he stops enabling. I keep wondering whether my Church based ministry should be brought to a close. My health, which is always very unpredictable, was very bad at the end of last year and the start of this year. As a result, my Church based ministry has been non-existent.
But that is due to change this evening; I’m preaching at our BCP Holy Communion service — it will be the first time in many months. I hope this will give me a good indication of what I might, or might not, manage in the future. If I manage well, I’ll be more confident going forward. If it’s too much for me, maybe I will need to think more carefully about what I should be doing. It will probably be somewhere in the middle of those, though. And I do need to be careful not to set too much store by what happens this evening — it is the first time for a long while. Still, I hope to be given some insight to discern God’s will for me.
give us insight
to discern your will for us,
to give up what harms us,
and to seek the perfection we are promised
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Additional Collect for The Third Sunday of Lent
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