Rock star Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz Weber wrote recently in her blog (and I very loosely paraphrase) that she always tells people in her new member classes that if they are there for her wit, her wisdom, her stardom, they won’t be there for long. Because sooner or later, she is bound to make a mistake, to say something that offends, to encourage them to do something they would rather not do. Her job is to make Jesus followers, not Nadia followers; Nadia falls flat on her face; Jesus never does.
I make mistakes all the time — in case you haven’t picked up on that! And, I think one of the good things about me is I will admit them and move on. I’m not the most polished among us; I’m not a scholarly theologian or a great teacher; I’m not organized and when deadlines approach, I get quite panicked; all of that surprises you, I know! But, what I am… what I do is love you. I spend 3/4 of my half-time call visiting with you… in fact, if you’re around Bethesda very often, you’ll notice I’m rarely in my office. Because I’m out with you — drinking coffee, playing with your children, hearing your stories, gathering your tears. That’s what kind of pastor I am — I’m one who gives you my whole heart. I am called to walk alongside you; to discern with you; to simply be with you. On that journey I promise you I will fall flat on my face, and know I’ll fall down with you when you fall flat on yours… I will make lots of mistakes and will make you upset and will probably ask you do something you’d rather not do… but, I have never been more sure that I am called to be a pastor — that I am called to be your pastor and I am so very, very grateful for those times when we walk side-by-side pointing toward the Jesus that makes this journey so very, very worth it.
Your traveling companion, Sarah