I’m taking some time off from blogging – or trying to – so I’m reposting a few requested favourites from the archives. This post originally appeared on 5 October 2012.
Here, come and stand in front of me.
Stand on your own two feet, let’s look each other right in the eye. It’s a beautiful day outside, warmer than it should be in October, and the trees are slowly staining scarlet, the gold is shaking down, and the early autumn sky is already far away from us. I picked a nice spot for us, the wind can take your breath, and your eyes are not satisfied with seeing, I know.
Stand now, head up, you are loved, remember? You are loved, and you are free. No shame here.
Let me stretch my arms out wide, like an Old Testament prophet, my hands are worn and lined, I have mama-hands, and let’s do this properly.
I commission you.
In the mighty and powerful name of Jesus, I commission you, for the work of the Gospel, as a minister of Jesus Christ, to live in your world as an ambassador of the Kingdom.
I commission you in the work of healing, and serving, and loving, and reconciliation. You are an emissary of justice, and your work from now on is to put things right, to call those things that are not as they will be.
I pray that the God of hope would fill you with peace that passes all understanding. I pray that you will be drawn into community, so rich, so deep, so diverse, that you will disagree and fight and remain in fellowship together anyway. I pray that you will bring casseroles, and prayer, and laughter, and tears, to one another. I pray that you would have your toes stepped on, your feelings hurt, and that you would forgive. I pray that you would be given the gift of realising you were wrong about some things. I pray that you would be quick to seek forgiveness when you are the transgressor. I pray for messy living rooms, for late nights, for dirty dishes littering your counters, and I pray for a faithful handful of friends and family to call when the darkness presses in close to you. I pray that you would be quick to show up at the right time for another person.
Come a little closer, I’m about to get all charismatic on you. Oh, yes, I want to lay my hands right on your head, let’s do this.
I call you to joy, friend. I set you apart in your regular, walking-around life for the daily work of liberation and love, proclaim the Gospel with your hands and your feet and your voice to every soul in your care and influence. May your soul long for prayer and for the Scriptures, may you keep secrets, may you give away your money, may you share your meals, may you sit alone in silence outside under the sky and be satisfied, may you change the bedding in the middle of the night after yet another childish accident without anger, may you hold babies, and comfort the dying, and be the voice of knowledge tempered with grace and wisdom, and may you never forget how to sing and be silly. May you make room in your life to be inconvenienced and put-out, may you be Jesus with skin on for a few people. May you be fearless, and may you eat good food.
I pray that no matter your tool or method: mothering, preaching, cooking, writing, organising, washing, teaching, building, money-making, all of your whole life encompassing it all, that you will walk in knowledge of the sacredness and purpose of your calling. I pray for dreams and visions, for the active leading of the Holy Spirit, and I pray that you would never ever ever forget that Abba is very, very fond of you.
I pray for perseverance and for discipline, I pray for speech seasoned with salt and goodness. I pray that when you are bored, and you are tired, and you are discouraged, when you feel futile and small and ridiculous, I pray that you will never, never, never give up.
Your ministry, your work, begins now, and it began long ago, in your world. Turn around, and face your life. Look it in the eye. This is it.
If you are surrounded by jelly-faced toddlers or thousands of longing hungry souls, or if you lift your head to find yourself in a hospital or a back alley or a church or an orphanage or your own suburban kitchen, if you are given a voice for dozens or only one other soul, you are a minister, feel it, say the words, roll them against your teeth: you have been commissioned for the work of the Gospel, in Christ Jesus, you have.
I send you out.
I send you out to the spot where you are, right now. You are right where you belong, you have everything you need to begin, and we will walk it out together, you and me.
Blessed be His Kingdom, now and forevermore. Peace be with you, my friend, peace.
Keep your eyes open for the signs of God’s presence, he’s already at work in your world, revealing his ways to us all. You get to be a part of it, and me, too. We’re in this together, let’s do it together, we’re calling people outside to the bonfire.