[Note: This was the July 3, 2018 post in Pastor Wes’s personal blog, Wesleyan Grace. You’re welcome to visit it, too. But his posts particularly related to Ritzville and to Trinity United Methodist Church will be posted here as well.]
As I was being introduced to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee of Trinity UMC, a committee member asked me why I wanted to move to Ritzville.
I wasn’t particularly expecting the answer that came out of my mouth.
God, I said. Because of God.
I didn’t receive a direct directive, like Genesis 12:1 says God gave Abraham and Sarah, telling them to get up and go, leave their familiar world behind, and head for a place God would show them. With me, it was a phone call from our District Superintendent, Gregg Sealey. But I’ve come to trust God to keep on doing what I’ve seen God do: I’ve seen God use this Methodist system of deploying pastors, with prayerful discernment by our bishop and district superintendents, as well as by pastors and local church committees, so that churches and pastors are connected for fulfilling and effective partnership in God’s own mission.
When I was ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church, I accepted its discipline, including the willingness to go where I am sent. So I could have said, “Because I’m a Methodist.” That would have been true. I could have said, “Because of my ordination.” But more deep, more true, is that I want to move to Ritzville because of God.
I desire, I expect, to discover God’s activity, God’s beauty, God’s Spirit and image, in each person. But not only in each person: God’s Spirit and image and beauty and activity are to be discerned not only in whomever, but also in wherever, and whatever. Wherever we are. Wherever we can imagine. Whatever is. Why? Because, God. (As the hymn puts it, “and anywhere that we can be, thou, God, art present there.”)
I desire, I expect, to discover God’s image is to be discovered in each person, and God’s beauty in each place, each thing, each particle of creation. It’s not just my calling as a pastor, it’s our calling as people of faith, as disciples of Jesus, to see God’s presence, and name it, and give praise.
Last Sunday morning, I saw God’s presence in our worshipping congregation in Ritzville. Sunday afternoon, I saw it in that wheatfield along Damon Road.
Tell me. What do you desire, what do you love, what do you choose, because of God?