Annual Meeting Thoughts

by Sara Woods

It may be a surprise to some of you, it was certainly a surprise for me, that I was called as Moderator-Elect. Afterall, I haven’t been a member for many, many years. I haven’t served on ministries for many, many years, and it also breaks some arbitrary patterns of alternating along gender binaries. However, I have jumped into coordinating chili cook-offs, making soup, teaching Sunday School, coordinating cookies, and chairing CF&I on little more than hubris and a commitment to myself, in 2018, that the year’s theme would be to saying yes to new things. And I was rewarded with kindness, appreciation, and teamwork beyond what I could have imagined or deserved, given how unprepared I felt.

Can I be totally honest, Church? I am so excited and scared and full of ideas and scared and humbled and scared and also, somewhat confused by this new role. When I accepted the invitation, I felt conflicted because I knew there would be a role that would be left open when there had been every indication was that I was going to continue as chair of CF&I.  But I said yes to something unexpected and something, quite honestly, I arguably might not be ready for. 

Technically, I have only officially been a Christian for 3 years.  I am basically a church toddler.  Lucky for us, even when I was a real life toddler, I was listening for God.  My mother used to tell a story about me.  I was about three or four years old, by nature already very introspective and verbal. On our way out of church one day, the pastor was shaking everyone’s hand and when he greeted me, he jokingly asked me what I thought about his sermon.  I replied, “I liked your story, but maybe those people should learn to compromise.” I am uncertain which Bible story he preached but, given the Bible, there could be a number of places where maybe some people should have learned to compromise.  Then the pastor fell out about how surprisingly insightful and articulate I was at such a young age. And in my own head I imagine my mom saying, “yeah, well, she also put slime in her hair and we had to cut it all off.”  Which I also did around that age.

I tell you this to share that we all have our gifts, even really early on in life, God-given.  And God is with us in each moment to be there when we are insightful and articulate and also when we put slime in our hair.  God has never asked me to be ready.  God has never replied to me that I am not ready. My super judgy super ego tells me that.  When I listen for God, this is what know for sure – that we are all God’s beloved, that God is with us in every moment, and that, when we look for it, we can see this reflected back in ourselves and others.  As we move into the next year as a livin, weird and wonderful body of Christ, my prayer for myself and all of us is –

Let us listen past the rumblings about readiness and ask God to be with us as we make ourselves available for what the moment demands of us and what we are called in to do. We are all the heroes of our own lives.  Let us take the hero’s journey together and trust that when we accept a call or an invitation that we are beloved and not alone and gifted.  I promise to do my best in this invitation, which I can guarantee will not be perfect, but I will use my gifts.  And if, no… when, I put slime in my hair, may we all help cut it out.  It’s just hair – it grows back most of the time.