Dear South East District Friends,
Recently, I was in a meeting with the Rev. Janet Horman. Janet is the Executive Director of Justice for our Neighbors (JFON), a ministry offering legal assistance to immigrants (invite Janet to come and preach in your church if you haven’t already!). Janet is a clergy person in the Florida conference as well as an immigration attorney. She has an amazing mind and heart for this work and I feel so blessed that our district is able to be a part of this significant and life-changing ministry. While in this recent meeting with Janet, I heard her say, “I identify more as a pastor when I do my work as an attorney. When I am in court, I often find myself preaching to the judges.” I giggled at this comment and knew what Janet was trying to express. Janet lives her faith, and her ordination, while wearing her “legal hat.”
Reflecting on Janet’s comment, I thought about my own life and work. Am I first and foremost a Christian and ordained minister of the gospel? When I volunteer at my child’s school, am I first a Christian and then a parent? When I am on a trip am I first a Christian and then a traveler? When I am frustrated in the line at Publix, am I first a Christian and then a rushed shopper?
I think our laypeople are very experienced in living these questions. Daily they are required to balance their faith with their secular lives. Many of us clergy spend the majority of our hours within a “faith bubble” where our beliefs and actions and commitments are not questioned. For Janet, and many others, facing an environment like a courthouse forces one to dig deep and find a language of faith that confronts and engages daily reality.
During this season of Lent we are asked to spend time in reflection and meditation on our lives in Christ and our commitment to our faith. I trust this Lenten season has been a blessed one for you and I pray that the voice of Christ has made itself known to you by energizing and refocusing your faith. Hearing comments like Janet’s sure helps to refocus mine. I am made more aware of my need to share my faith and witness with the world around me. Our churches are blessed by our (lay and clergy) leadership, teaching and witness. But how much more blessed will our supermarkets, schools, sports fields and work places be by the witness of our joy, love and faith?
A blessed Lent and walk toward Holy Week to each of you,