Resilience: Overcoming Difficulty

Dearly Beloved,

What a gift to have been able to gather in person for a physically distanced outdoor worship this past Sunday! I missed everyone who was not able to join us in person. If you missed it, you can read my sermon from last Sunday
HERE and you can watch Sunday's service HERE. 

Yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of my ordination. I entered seminary knowing that God had placed a call on my life but not really sure how to answer that call. In 2011-2012, I took a year off of classes to serve full time at a Disciples of Christ congregation in Greensboro, North Carolina as their ministry intern. Their minister was due to have a baby and part of my role would be to cover for her for the 12 weeks of her parental leave. 

Little did I know that this time serving a congregation would make me fall in love with congregational ministry. I sometimes say that First Christian Church of Greensboro loved me into the minister I have become. Every time I met with my Intern Support Team, I marveled at how much fun I was having and how privileged I felt to do the work of ministry! Needless to say, a year and a half later when it came time for my ordination, I returned to Greensboro to have the congregation that had helped form me bless my call to ordained ministry.

As I recall this journey, I am struck by how we all get to be the church in ways we cannot foresee. I daresay First Christian Church, Greensboro had no idea that they were preparing someone for 2+ years of hospital chaplaincy in Chicago hospitals. Little did they know they were forming someone for a ministry to children and youth and to do social justice in Lafayette, Colorado. Little did they know that they were preparing me to do ministry alongside all of you, to navigate a pandemic, and the social and political upheaval of our day together. 

Sometimes I think our imaginations simply cannot fathom what the Holy Spirit is doing around and within and through us. These last few weeks, through your gifts to our COVID-19 emergency fund, we have assisted a woman fleeing domestic violence move into an apartment of her own. We have also helped a family transition from homelessness to being housed. We cannot know what God is doing through us or the full impact of these gifts. We can only trust and practice generosity and loving kindness.

This Sunday, we will hear the story of the resilience of the Israelite people under the oppression of the Egyptians (Exodus 1:8-2:10). Sometimes we do not know how our actions equip us or others to be resilient. And yet, when we act in love and courage, God works through us in powerful, liberating and transformative ways. 

Where have you seen or practiced resilience during this time of pandemic, national anxiety and social unrest? How is God working in and through you to sustain, uplift and indeed strengthen you?

7 years into my work as an ordained minister, I am grateful to be here, with all of you. God is surely working among us in ways we may not yet even see.

With love and gratitude, 
Thandiwe