What I want most is to just follow.
I was in Santa Barbara for the first weekend of October. I will write another post about the whole experience. But one thing will stand out. On Sunday morning, I was to preach to this congregation at St. Mark UMC who had really sponsored and supported and encouraged me into ministry. They were behind both Karen and I, but they had to decide on me. Would they say “yes” to my call? They did. Resoundingly. As I reentered that sanctuary on Sunday morning after preaching the Prayer and Healing Retreat that weekend, the sense of God’s presence was so real. It was that same “sense of God” that Karen and I had first felt back in the fall of 1979 when we had first entered there. That sense that God was here and at work. That morning, Sunday October 4th, 2015, God was there again 36 years later. The weekend had been replete of memories of those years.
But as Pastor Joe introduced me for me to preach, it became clear. God had brought me back to put me on this holy ground to continue my calling into this ministry. I was on Holy Ground and the Spirit whispered, “Take off your shoes.” I did, feeling a bit self conscious, but also clear: I want to obey and follow Jesus more than anything.
So, as I stood to preach moments later, I stood barefoot. And told them the sense of God’s presence I had felt, the reality that this day, this weekend was the beginning of something significant. God’s call. God’s design and I wanted to do it God’s way.
Hopefully, that will stay with me when my feet don boots and hike the Camino, when my feet are on the stone floor of a cottage in Ireland, when my feet are on the carpeted floor as I sit looking perhaps across a candlelit table with Karen across from me as we celebrate our 35th anniversary in London, England.
Truly my year adventure had begun, barefoot.