I was confirmed at Grace Episcopal Church this morning. I am now an Episcopalian. Throughout the course of the day God has provided confirmation that this is what she wanted through my own heart and the people around me. I just finished praying Vigils from the Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary
. It’s as if God has me one final gift before bed. This passage from Wisdom was one of this week’s readings:

For who will say, ‘What have you done?’
or will resist your judgement?
Who will accuse you for the destruction of nations that you made?
Or who will come before you to plead as an advocate for the unrighteous?
13For neither is there any god besides you, whose care is for all people,*
to whom you should prove that you have not judged unjustly;
14nor can any king or monarch confront you about those whom you have punished.
15You are righteous and you rule all things righteously,
deeming it alien to your power
to condemn anyone who does not deserve to be punished.
16For your strength is the source of righteousness,
and your sovereignty over all causes you to spare all.
17For you show your strength when people doubt the completeness of your power,
and you rebuke any insolence among those who know it.*
18Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness,
and with great forbearance you govern us;
for you have power to act whenever you choose.

19Through such works you have taught your people
that the righteous must be kind,
and you have filled your children with good hope,
because you give repentance for sins. (Wisdom 12:12-19)

Reader: O God, you are righteous and you rule all things righteously. Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness, and with great forbearance you govern us.

Response: Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, whose judgments are true and just. Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness, and with great forbearance you govern us.

God is my sovereign. God leads me where she wants me to go. It is not the journey I thought it would be. I thought I would remain in the Church of the Nazarene as a pastor for many more years. But that did not happen. God showed me another way in her gracious sovereignty. I am now a member of a new church–a totally new tradition. For the first time in my life I am not in an evangelical church. And I’m fine with that. I feel great freedom in shedding that heavy weight. For evangelical in this day is not the evangelical it once was. When it was more concerned with lifting up the poor and lowly, building schools, created homes for unwed mothers, teaching people trades. Evangelicalism gave up the acts of Christ for a privatized faith of right and wrong, us vs. them. But right belief and right doctrine does not always lead to right action. I am in a church that has the right action, and that action comes from the right belief: that we are called to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus said on these two things the entire law hangs. Love God. Love ourselves. Love others. This is the greatest commandment. I am looking forward to being a part of the ministries to homeless we are doing as well as the new ministries to all the college students in the area. I feel like I have entered broader territory, and I have more room to find out who God is and who I am and what that means to the community I am a part of. I am looking forward to seeing where this new path will lead me.

“Stepping out in confirmation”
by Shawna R. B. Atteberry

A new step
A new direction
Letting go of the past
On a new path
Stepping into a broader space
With less fences
Less walls
Less rules
It feels good
To be trusted
To discern the Spirit
Instead of being
Told what to do.

(c)2008 Shawna R. B. Atteberry

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