Today I Saw God
Sometimes we have a clear understanding of what Jesus wants us to do. When the disciples asked Jesus, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?" Jesus was very specific, head into town, find a man carrying water and follow him. Then say to the owner of the house he enters, "The Teacher asks: where is my the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples." Jesus said the owner will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. The disciples did exactly what Jesus told them to do and they found things just as Jesus had said. (Mark 14:12-15)
Other times, we have the sense that God is up to something and it's not as clear. I imagine that the owner of the house might have felt like this. The Bible tells us that the owner had the large upper room in his house furnished and ready, this makes me think he was expecting company. But I wonder, did he know who his company would be? How long had he been waiting to welcome his guests? Were there times during the wait that he became discouraged, wondering if they would ever arrive? Did he ever doubt the need to prepare the room? Who told the owner to prepare the room?
I think in the owner, we see someone who was responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I wonder if maybe he just had "the feeling" or "sensed" that he needed to have the room ready. It's hard to be the owner. You don't have the same clarity as when you get a clear instruction from Jesus. But the owner is just as obedient as the disciples, maybe even more so. In preparing the room the owner welcomes Jesus Christ into his house.
Since October, a group of us have been preparing for recent college graduates to join us on an adventure called the Wesley Fellows. Like the disciples who followed the man with the water, these young people have spent time in prayer and discernment and are embarking on a journey that they feel called to be on. They have a vision and mission. Like the owner of the upper room, we have host families who have been prompted to share their homes, mentors who have agreed to walk beside these young people and employers willing to give them jobs. Like the owner, the details aren't clear, but the need to respond to a request to be part of this adventure is clear.
It is an exciting time for all of us. These next nine months we will journey together. Just like the owner of the upper room we will experience Christ in our midst and we will learn and grow together as we extend Christian hospitality to our Wesley Fellows. I can't wait to see what God is going to do with this first cohort of Wesley Fellows!
I don't like to admit it, but it's true. I don't always enjoy explaining what I do. Don't get me wrong, I love working with Wesley Fellows atFloris United Methodist Church. The main reason I don't like explaining what I do is the same reason I'm so excited to serve in this capacity: fellows programs fill a major gap in the church-at-large's ministry. People assume churches don't have ministries geared toward young women and men soon after they finish college. They assume this not because they're ignorant, but because it's generally true.
So now you might understand my conundrum. If I were to say, "I'm a banker" or "I work in cybersecurity" or even "I'm a pastor," my conversation partner would generally understand my profession. But when asked what I do for a living, my response almost always requires further explanation about both the nature of the work and the ministry I'm helping envision. Once people understand, however, I've discovered that this ministry sells itself. People easily jump on board with their affirmation, prayers and resources because they have all too much awareness of the church's poor track record among young, working professionals.
According to thePew Research Center, nearly 23 percent of American adults identify as "nones" or have no religious affiliation. This percentage jumps to 36 percent among Americans age 18-29. I don't point out these percentages to lament religious demographics or shame my own generation, but I believe they point out the changing landscape into which young Christians enter as they begin their adult lives.
Faithful Christianity in the workplace doesn't look the same as it did 10 years ago and won't look the same in another 10 years. Fellows programs, including Wesley Fellows, try to reach students in this zone and help them start their professional careers with a foundation of faith exercised in community. We want to equip students to be faithful Christians and good workers because we believe those two identities are not mutually exclusive.
You'll hear from me a little more in the coming months, hopefully giving you some insight into what shaping this program takes. But if you want to know more about what I do,please ask me. I promise I won't be discouraged to explain what I do.