Today is my first Sunday as the pastor of a new church, and I am excited about the possibilities for worship and growth in the Word. But I am up at 5:00 a.m., this morning, wide awake. I complete my sermon on Thursday and feel good about the message. What weighs on me this morning does not concern the semantics of how things proceed. I am in my twelfth year of ministry, so I am accustomed to the butterflies I feel on Saturday evening. I talked to many pastors who wrestle with the dreaded pre-Sunday question, “Is my sermon good enough?”
There is something about the beginning of a ministry in a new place. For me, I feel the awesome responsibility on my shoulders of sacred leadership. And so, this morning, I offer a prayer before I start. I hope that when all is said and done that Holy Hands direct the ministry at Belen First United Methodist Church, and my ears may listen to the spiritual needs of the people who worship with us. I offer what I have to a people who entrust me to be their pastor.
When one weighs the responsibilities for the care of God’s people, the task proves, at times, overwhelming. Thank God, I do not share this burden alone, but a continued dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide the journey. I come today equipped with a sacred message and aware of the responsibility placed on my shoulders.
May what I say and do during my tenure at this church be pleasing to the Father and let us move forward together as a people who follow the calling ordained by a loving God. May Divine love pour over us, so that the light of Christ may shine and illuminate the road before us.
Peace to all this day. And now, let all who serve this day truly offer this old prayer, “Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.” (The United Methodist Book of Worship, pg. 22).