I wanted to share and continue to savor and offer to you on my blog the words written by my dear Canadian friend, Shawn. I also wanted to keep his words right here in the middle of my words so as not to forget the evidence of tangible grace he has been for me through the years. You can find Shawn's blog at Prairie Preacher here on blog spot. Thank you Shawn.
One of my favourite hymns is "Walk With Me" written by John S. Rice.
The tune is beautiful and the words are amazing. Whenever I hear it, I think of its history and the call to faith that it offers.
On Sunday we used "Walk with Me" in our worship service, and as we sang it (in both services) I thought to myself, there is a blog posting in here somewhere ... little did I know where that thought would lead me ...
Over the last few years Blogging has at times been my salvation. Here I can share my thoughts and frustrations, and along the way I have been inspired and uplifted by postings of others whom I am delighted to count among my friends.
One of the blogs that I have followed with great delight has been the posting of my friend and colleague Blake, who was in ministry in Texas when I first encountered his blog.
My first exposure to Blake's Laughing Pastor came when one of my friends and congregation members asked if I was posting in another Blog ... she thought the Laughing Pastor was either me, or a kindred spirit and thought I should check it out, that is IF I wasn't actually the Laughing Pastor.
I followed the advice, and was hooked by the mix of wisdom, laughter, silliness and incredible reflections on life, the universe and almost everything in between ... along the way Blake and I became friends and have exchanged emails, texts, phone calls and now are Facebook friends. We have even tried to co-author a book - a project I am still willing to try. AND, I have a beautiful cross in my office that came to me thanks to Blake. (see the posting: Blogger Connections)
Along the way, I have valued Blake as a mentor, a confidante, a colleague but most of ALL a friend.
Together we've both experienced the ups and downs that life and ministry can offer. And from our friendship, laughter, inspiration and loving care has been offered back and forth.
Today though I have found myself weeping tears of laughter and joy as Blake celebrated his Installation as Pastor in a new Congregation, and was able to ALSO celebrate his "coming out" as a glorious child of God who happens to be Gay.
I can still remember vividly the day Blake made that admission to me via a text message ... we were chatting back and forth about some stuff and he said "Don't you get it? I'm gay."
My reply then and now remains the same - one word: AND?
Sexual orientation has never concerned me, and I believe that it has never really concerned God either ... I'm pretty sure looking around this world of ours that God has bigger things to worry about!!!
Today as I read the posting over at The Laughing Pastor that celebrates this moment in Blake's Life and Ministry, I not only found the answer to that long lingering query, I ALSO had something to post that was worthy of John S. Rice's beautiful hymn.
Today, I know that Blake and his ministry is helping to achieve the vision that John S. Rice offered so eloquently when in response to a nasty and heated debate about the role of Gays and Lesbians in the life of his Presbyterian Church. Having heard the vitriol offered by so-called "faithful" people John Rice wrote the words:
Walk with me, I will walk with you
and build the land that God has planned
where love shines through
Tonight, I celebrate with Blake the place he has found in his life where he can be truly and fully himself, and I celebrate that God's Love is TRULY shining through !!!!
L'chaim to The Laughing Pastor !!
L'chaim to the Folks in Pleasantville as they begin their ministry together with Blake!!
L'chaim to that land that God has planned, that is shining through tonight !!!
Thank you Blake, for inviting me to walk this journey with you as a friend and colleague!!