When asked why I want to be a pastor, I have a few responses, but I normally try to gauge how long of an answer the person asking is wanting before I answer. If they are only doing it to be nice – you can typically tell who these people are – I typically just say “Because that is what God is calling me to do, and I think I’d be good at it.” This typically satisfies them.
Some people ask because they know my story – I went to school to be a nurse not a preacher, so how’d that happen? I explain that when I went to school at Belmont it didn’t feel right – the nursing major and I. I felt pulled in a different direction. I felt like God was calling me into ministry, but I was pushing it to the back burner, refusing to acknowledge it until that point. Finally, I accepted it and changed my major at Belmont to Christian Leadership and decided to become a pastor.
A longer answer, for sure, but still not the full story. So, I want to write about the full story here, my blog. I recently got a tattoo of Jesus presiding over the communion table. This is important, because it is one of the many reasons I want to go into ministry.
Last summer, I worked at a church in Nashville where weekly Communion was practiced, and I got to help serve each week. There was something so special in being able to serve people the body and blood of Christ. It was vulnerable and meaningful. Each person would walk up to you, make eye contact (ideally), and listen as you said “the body of Christ broken for you, Christ’s blood poured out for you.” It was important for me as a gay men to be able to serve at a table that was open to all of God’s children, and for others to see that God was able to use anyone for Their ministry in the world.
This tattoo is a physical reminder for me that when I am at the table, whether receiving or giving the elements, Jesus invites us all. Jesus invites every part of us to his table. We don’t have to change who we are to partake in his ministry.
The Methodist church, a few other denominations, believe in the Communion of Saints, where when we physically come to the table within the church walls, we are also coming to the table with those who have passed on and are in an afterlife. I love this idea that when I come to the Table one Sundays, I get to meet my grandmother there, and I get to sit among family members I never got to meet. It’s literally a family reunion every Sunday (or every Nth Sunday)! What’s not to love?
When I become a pastor one day, I hope that I get to share this passion with my congregants and help them fall in love with this sacrament as much as I am. Now, can I get them to join in on getting coffee recognized as a sacrament? We’ll see about that.
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