I love the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. It gives you a taste of adventure without having any risks involved. You get to see the back side of water, a safari group climb a pole at the tip of rhino's horn. Trader Sam will trade you two of his heads for one of yours. The best thing about the ride is that you can check out how the operators modify the script. Adventure without risk -- all waters charted, because, well you're riding on a track. That's the D-Land offering.
But life isn't quite the same. It has a lot more risk involved! We don't know where the road will lead.
Last night I submitted my ministry profile to the national office. I'm doing this not because I'm unhappy with my current congregation, but because it's part of my covenant with the congregation and with my region. When I began my current ministry -- after a year of interiming in Lompoc -- as "transitional pastor" it was agreed that I could submit my name for consideration, but the church would have to do a real search when the transition ended. Well, we've reached that point in time where decisions have to be made. I've been in Lompoc for three plus years. When my current relationship with them ends in July of 2008, I will have been there 4 years -- which is a pretty normal tenure for a pastor.
So the journey enters uncharted waters. We don't know where the road will lead. It could lead back to Lompoc or it could elsewhere. Everyone is a bit anxious -- the family, the congregation, the preacher. Whatever happens in July, all of our lives will be different. But then that's the way life is -- because it doesn't run on a track operated by a computer. We're free agents, able to choose, able to go our own way. It's not always easy or fun, but it is a real adventure.
The key it would seem is to keep close to God -- to keep things in prayer. Sunday the lectionary text is Luke 18:1-8. It's the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow. In Luke Jesus uses the parable to teach us to pray unceasingly. And so we do, as we head out on the journey.