The last time I had a change in my name was my wedding 21 years ago. This time around there is a change to the prefix before my name - that change is "Vicar”.
A "Vicar" according to the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is a seminarian who is assigned to a congregation as an intern for one year. This typically involves the student working with a senior pastor and a committee of the church to support the development of the seminarian.
Last Sunday, a Service of Beginning took place at First Lutheran Church to mark the beginning of my year long internship. It's been a whirlwind since last April, when I was approved by my Candidacy Committee to pursue Seminary and the role of Minister of Word and Sacrament. There is a great deal of learning still ahead, but I'm taking a moment to pause and let this change, this prefix, to soak in. Last year at this time, I was looking forward to the hope that "someday" I'd attend seminary and begin the road towards ordained ministry that I have felt called to for over 20 years.
All those years ago, I'd never imagine the word "Vicar" connected to my name. This week though, I've received two pieces of mail that have shown me, in black and white, that a change is taking place.
The card I received has this quote printed on it,
" To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but dream. Not only plan, but also believe.
- Anatole France
Last Sunday, I was asked the question if I was ready to serve God and the Church in the role of an intern/vicar and my response was, "I am, and I ask God to help me." Change sometimes feels like it comes so slow, and others are hard to keep up with, but with the help of God our lives can become something we thought we'd never see in black and white.
This is the prayer that was said to me this last Sunday, may it be an encouragement to you as you serve God and others in the place you have been called.
"May God go before you to show you the way;
Be behind you to encourage and inspire you;
Be beside you as your Faithful Friend;
Be above you to watch over you;
Be within you to give you peace;
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit, Amen"
Go in Peace...