I look at this picture from a year ago and wonder if I knew what I was getting into in accepting a call to pastor. I wonder if my family knew what they were getting into in supporting and encouraging me to pursue my call to minister.
A year later, we are all looking at the camera. The girls are much bigger and older and wiser and overall growing way too fast. We are in a different church building. I am wearing another beautiful gift from my congregation. (It’s a scapular, in case you were wondering.) There’s also another Harrelson growing and changing us all as we await Baby H’s arrival in November.
But I wonder more than anything if I look as different as I feel. Sure, my hair is shorter, and I think the circles under my eyes are more pronounced, but as I look at the first picture, I can see myself looking into the future for our congregation. I can see the hope of the future and the excitement for the vision God has given me for God’s people.
In the second picture, a year later, I am looking directly into the camera because we are living the future God has called us to. We are more fully grounded in who we are as a congregation and what God has called us to. We are standing taller and more sure-footed than we were a year ago not because our journey has been easy, but rather because our journey has asked us to stretch our definition of what it means to be church and what it means to be followers of Christ. And because the more we have answered God’s call on our lives, the more God is calling us to do.
It’s not easy to be a community of faith together not only because of the rapid changes that are occurring culturally, but also because it’s hard to live in community together. I am so proud to be pastoring a community that is willing to change and be flexible and who is willing to take risks. They are teaching me about what it truly means to be a follower of Christ.