Epiphany turns out to be an excellent time to begin my life as a Free Range priest. It has been a jam-packed week, full of catching up with friends and starting new things and literally trying to figure out several new processes from scratch - how and why and when and where I will be engaging in ministry, and with whom. It is a one-woman start up! I guess I didn't realize until I got going that although my work is faith-based, there is still a lot of practical business that needs my attention: agreements and forms and billing systems and feedback and keeping records, etc. In some ways it is not so different from a congregational office, although the technology might be a bit more updated. Thank God for technology!
And so this has been a week of meeting with my website designer and updating this space, both inside and out (thanks, Toban Penner!), of integrating some of what I do with a fabulous life coaching space (thanks, Noomii!), and thinking about digital evangelism, both in the very present moments of my own life and in considering how to share about it with others (thanks Church of the Holy Family and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship!).
I have done a great deal of talking about what a Free Range Priest does this week, but also a great deal of doing what a Free Range Priest does - meeting and listening and discerning how God is present in our relationships, on and offline, considering how we are the church everywhere we go, and making myself as available as possible for these conversations, wherever and however they take place. And quite literally encoding these things into the fabric of my life.
And in the midst of this, a star and a journey and some unexpected people bearing gifts. And a king, angry and afraid. It reminded me, as I sat in a beautiful candlelit church yesterday evening (thanks, St. Mark's, Huntersville!), that change, even the big, life giving, holy and loving kind of change, can still be really scary. It can be so scary that we recoil, that we shut down, or try to shut it down. Not everyone follows the star to see where the newborn Savior lays. Sometimes we try to put that light out altogether. Or we never even stop and look up.
My first week of being a Free Range Priest has been overwhelming, in both good and exhausting ways. I worried I might be lying on the couch eating bonbons and listening to my phone not ring, but luckily, that has not happened. I am still afraid. I am still not sure exactly what it is I am doing. But there is that star, and somehow I feel like it leads to something even brighter. So I keep walking towards it, bringing my gifts.