I was just reminscing about a particular experience in seminary. Odd that after ten years of ministry I should go back to that one moment as I meditate on becoming a rector installed for the first time...or maybe it is entirely appropriate:
One night, as we were sitting around and dreaming about what it would be like to be a priest...a real, live, honest-to-god priest of the church in charge of a parish...we got a little giddy. I remember the conversation/meditation coming to a comic peak with the group of us holding forth a chorus of "If I were a rector..." to the tune from Fiddler on the Roof, "If I were a rich man." It had a good hook...and we got a laugh out of our nervous worries about really being ready to take on such an awesome responsibility as leading a parish of the people of God in seeking, finding and knowing the Good News.
And now, here a decade later, I sit in my office and ponder saying the "pastor's prayer" the begins with "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof..." And I feel ready. Not ready in the sense of being confident and eager. Quite the contrary. I am eager in the sense that a good friend of mine, who is a surgeon, expressed on the occasion of his first major surgery..."I am scared as hell that I am not so scared as hell at what I am about to do." This experience is the next step in my own vocational walk with God. It is a call to do work that I truly love to do, and to be reminded that it is humility and grace that determine success and not beauty and skill...well, that is just fine with me.
So, two days from now I will officially be a rector....after doing the work for nearly two years already....and then I get a rest when I go on retreat.
I am ready for both expriences.