Everyone who has accepted or is discerning a call to serve as a minister in our church today should make it his/her priority to pray and reflect often on the Acts of the Apostles. The good news that we hear from Acts on a daily basis during this post-Resurrection time serves to remind all of us of the joys and sorrows of ministering with and to the People of God. The faith lived by the early disciples, the hope they found in the early church and the love for the risen Lord are gifts to us who serve 2000 years later.
When I read Acts and hear of the challenges, frustrations, blessings and conversions that are happening constantly in the lives of early Christians, my faith is buoyed and my spirit is nurtured. The accounts we here of the escapades of the disciples and early Christians serve to humble us and at the same time give us hope.
The experience of Paul and Silas in today’s reading as they encountered persecution and imprisonment followed by conversion of the jailer. We all have many experiences of different persecutions and imprisonments in our daily encounters as ministers. Our church seems rife with challenges that keep us on our toes. On the other hand, the blessings that come with ministry are not unlike those that the early disciples enjoyed.
My early church professor used to remind us often of the longevity and tenacity of the Church of God in these words;
“We think we have problems in the church today, just look at the problems the early church faced over 2000 years ago! And we’re still here today!!!!!
This Easter season has brought with it many joys especially in the celebration of the sacraments. It is easy to rejoice with the faithful at Baptism, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Confirmation, Mystagogia with the Neophytes. Other days when the only too human side of church seems to be knocking down my door, one pauses to question the why and how of ministry and call.
In this regard, I’ll share a ‘God moment’ of recent past. I love parish ministry with all its highs and lows and my prayer is one of gratitude. Over the past months I have begun to question the call I received so many years ago. I wondered if I was being authentic and faithful to that call. Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? I was frustrated and feeling a bit useless at times. I kept praying and hoping for some direction. Well, that direction came recently during the Sunday homily which had been about listening and receiving the Good News that God regularly dishes out if we remain open to hearing! The pastor ended this particular homily with this statement of faith:
“Jesus continues to call each of us AND Jesus promises to take care of us!!!”
This is good enough for me, how about you?! Happy Easter Season!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.