Part of being a minister is to bear people’s burdens and to walk beside them as they walk through life. And that burden can be a lot to bear, especially if you consider the number of people that a minister ministers to, but there is something absolutely mysterious about being invited to be there for the important moments in people’s lives.
I am still surprised when people ask me to officiate their weddings, share the lives of their loved ones in a service of remembrance, and celebrate the waters of baptism. There is a very real sense that I want to look at them and say, “Are you sure you meant to ask me?” These are the days they will remember for the rest of their lives. These are the pictures they will show their loved ones. These are the stories they will tell again and again. And they are inviting me to be in that story.
These stories that are being created as we live in relation with one another make me certain that God is among us and God is with us. God is inviting us to join in the creation process and to make something good, something worth celebrating. God is inviting us to experience God’s mystery in living together.
As I am there for these important moments, I get the honor of reminding people on these most important days that God is still at work and that God loves them. As ministers we cannot forget that we are God’s messenger, and we carry the burden of being agents of God’s love not God’s judgement in these most important moments. Because ministers and churches have given too much hurt and too much judgement to people in these most important moments.
Let us not forget how important our work is as messengers of God to God’s people. Let us speak God’s love and not our own opinions in these most important moments, life-changing moments.