“I Will, and I Ask God to Help Me!”
On February 24, we had a special service of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, a Parish Deacon Commissioning. I spent about two years attending courses on Saturday mornings that included study about being an ELCA Lutheran and about being a Christian in general. I started out this journey looking for how I could learn more about my faith and, quite frankly, looking for meaning. I wanted to be closer to God so I could learn how to overcome my own sadness and disappointments that had left me feeling lost and confused. As I worked through the courses and did some reflective prayer, I began to understand that it was not about what I was going to get out of serving the church but it was about truly surrendering to God’s will; it was about sharing His peace by serving others.
As a part of the commissioning service, Pastor Meyer was gracious enough to allow me to choose the readings for the service. I chose, Micah 6:6-8, 1 John 4:7-21 and for the Gospel reading, Matthew 7: 1-14. All three of these readings are words that have inspired me but, more importantly, they have humbled me. When I read Micah 6, I reminded of what God calls us all to do; to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. When I read 1 John 4, especially vs 18 “there is no fear in Love”, I am reminded that if I am truly commented to serve, I must do this with the Love of our Father, one that is grounded in Loving ALL of His children without fear. When I read Matthew 7, I am reminded of the great love that Jesus came to share with all of us, and He clearly defines what actions we must take, and we don’t need to fear, because as He shares with us in vs 7, we should trust and have faith and in vs 12, He reminds us that “in EVERYTHING, do to others as you would have them do unto you”.
In Matthew 7 vs 14, Jesus tells us that “small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” In his sermon last week, Pastor Meyer explained that to go down this narrow path means to love and serve others in this world without expecting anything in return. I have been thinking about this a lot since then. I pray that my ministry as a Deacon for Lutheran Urban Parish will be one that will take me down this narrow path. In my ministry as a deacon, I plan to continue to assist our pastor with pastoral care, contribute music to both of our churches, continue to volunteer with The Well, and I want to work with our Pastor to support immigrants and refugees in helping those who have been forced to leave their countries to escape persecution, resettle and integrate into new communities.
I started this journey looking for meaning in my life and I have that found meaning. Yes, this journey through the diakonia training for two years has helped learn more about what it means to be Lutheran and it has brought me closer to God but the biggest thing I have realized is that this calling is not about me. I am no longer pondering the need to overcome sadness and disappointment because I now know that it isn’t about expecting something in return. As a part of the commissioning service last week, Pastor Meyer asked me, “Will you witness in word and deed, and by your own example encourage God’s people in faithful service and holy living? “and I responded: “I will, and I ask God to help me.” I invite you to join me on this journey. May the peace of the Lord be with you always!
Jeanine Romano, PhD
Parish Deacon, Lutheran Urban Parish