In the United Methodist Church, we use the term “holy mystery” to describe the sacrament of Holy Communion. This statement testifies to the unexplainable experience that Christ is present in ways beyond our understanding,
Throughout my life, the sacraments experienced at the communion table and baptismal font have carried me to unexpected places. Yesterday, I stood next to the baptismal font at annual conference and pledged to dedicate my life to missionary service.
As a child, I spoke of being a pastor. My journey to ordination was long, but not unexpected. Throughout my life, people encouraged me towards ministry.
But a missionary? I never dreamed of becoming a missionary. Throughout my life, I’ve had no missionary role models. The title missionary seemed distant, other-worldly, beyond my experience. In my mind, a missionary was someone who went to a distant land and engaged in work that I imagined would be far beyond anything God would call me to do.
But last night, the bishop placed his hands on me again. As I received a second calling, Bishop Bledsoe prayed, “Almighty God, source of all mercies, endow Greg Henneman with your Holy Spirit, enrich him with your grace, and strengthen him for the tasks which lie ahead; that in all his works begun, continued, and ended in you, he may glorify your holy name, and advance the coming of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
An anchor cross was placed around my neck.
Hands laid on me.
People who shaped my faith stood with me.
I am a missionary.
This is nothing but a holy mystery. A mystery that is exciting, frightening, and completely unexpected. But as our conference preacher, Rev Dr. J. Kabamba Kiboko said as she called us to go and disciple, “It’s going to be okay, Jesus is going to be with you.”