So, what has God gifted you for?
By Rev. Megan Morrow, Assistant to the Bishop
Seeds. Lots of people planted and nurtured the seeds of faith in my life – men, women, family, Sunday School teachers, youth ministry, campus ministry, pastors, friends, music teachers, and worship musicians.
“I’ll pray a line and then you pray it. Our Father, who art in heaven…” – my grandmother, Lillian, before I was 5.
“Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.” – a favorite hymn growing up.
“So, what has God gifted you for? To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:7, 27 – An ah-ha moment during middle school confirmation.
“So, have you ever thought about becoming a pastor? I watch how you pay attention to people, others overlook, and you watch for God’s presence and point it out.” – one of my pastors during high school in the late 70s, not long after the decision to ordain women.
“God, you’re the only one I know here. Help me get to know people. Use me.” – me on my bunk the first night after my parents dropped me off for college.
“So, which seminary are you going to go to after college? You’ve got leadership and communication skills, worship leadership skills, and compassion. I hope you’ll consider serving as a pastor.” – my campus pastor.
“Can women even be pastors? But, I’m not holy enough, old enough, smart enough, wise enough, and I’ve got school debt already. My parents will think I can’t commit to a career path…” – my responses.
“Yes, women can be pastors. You just need to be you. There’s financial aid. God will provide.” – Others’ responses.
“We wondered when you’d figure out God’s calling you.” “Oh, Meg, I knew you were going to be a pastor when we were little. Remember how you used to make us kneel around the back patio and pretended to give us communion with leaves?” – my parents’ and my sister’s responses (that would have been before the ordination of women… Good thing my siblings didn’t die of my early ‘ministry’! And, no, I didn’t remember. I apologized!)
They all told the story of God’s love for the whole world – creation, the universe, all people. They told the story of God’s Living Word – God’s “I love you” in the flesh – Jesus, who literally created life, and gave his life, that we might have new life, now and into eternity. Sheer grace upon grace in order that we might love one another as we have been loved.
They told the story of the Spirit’s calling us, gifting us, challenging, gathering, and enlightening us, sending us out for the sake of the world that God so loves!
They helped me see how that story is for me, and how I’m part of that story, and gifted to just be me in sharing it. God can use me! The story is for YOU! You are part of the story! God can use you!
What does it mean to be a woman in ministry? To me, it means, who are we to hinder the Spirit? God has spoken from the beginning in ways that surprise, delight, challenge, cleanse, and renew, in order to give life, bring reconciliation, heal, and save us from whatever separates us from each other and tries to separate us from God. Women, and people of every walk of life, ethnic background, economic status, sexual orientation, language, and ability have been God’s instruments in all kinds of ways, as lay people, and even as ordained pastors and deacons.
“Women shouldn’t be pastors.” – the father of a high school son on a ventilator in ICU commented when I offered to shake his hand as I introduced myself. I smiled and chuckled when he wouldn’t shake my hand. “God’s got women doing all sorts of things they shouldn’t these days,” I replied. The father followed me out into the hall where he began to weep and pour out his fear and love for his son. We prayed together. And God’s “I love you”, God’s Living Word, was spoken and present in our midst.
The story continues. The Spirit continues to call. Seeds continue to be planted and nurtured. God continues to bring life, healing, reconciliation, hope, and new life! So, what has God gifted you for?