October 2012

Body: 

“…take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”    Exodus 3:5

To forget the sacredness of our service to the Lord is anathema. Yet that sacredness is often not apparent, especially when we serve the Lord in administrative or educational duties. 

Administrative duty can be reduced to efficiency and profit management, both of which can be signs of good stewardship (Matt. 25:14-30). Yet if, in our administrative duty, we forget the need to serve prayerfully and ethically, we have become too “market driven,” and are heading for trouble.

The sacred privilege of participating in theological education should have as its goal a worshipful life guided, with reverent integrity, by a humble learning or teaching posture. If we forget the sacredness of theological learning, we may find ourselves becoming contemptuous of the task the Lord has called us to, thinking of it as an outdated, irrelevant and underpaid religious duty. 

At such times, we need to hear again the voice of the Lord, calling us to take off our sandals and to be aware that we are treading on holy ground. The sand near the burning bush, like our callings to administrative and educational ministries, can look quite common. But it was there, standing on that common-looking sand but seeing a bush that burned and was not consumed, that the purpose of the Lord for his people and for the world was revealed to a person bruised with life.

Recently two events refreshed in me a sense of sacredness in ministry.  

The first event was the acceptance of the UUC presidency by Rev Dale Sewall, and his dedication to the position that God had taken 40 years to prepare him for. His brain tumor reminds me that our time on earth is itself sacred. And that when our time on earth is dedicated to the glorious privilege of serving the Lord, it is more sacred still. 

The second event happened when Dr Cuong asked me to prepare a backup devotion for the recent seminar at UUC. Unsure that he would be well enough after his recent stroke to lead the devotion, he asked me to prepare “just in case.” I took time to prepare my devotion with mixed feelings. I did want to share what I prepared with the beloved brothers and sisters gathering on that day. But I also wanted Dr Cuong to be well enough to lead devotions himself! 

Guess what, he showed up! And I listened to his message more attentively than usual. It was an appeal for a life of love in ministry. Of course we have all heard that message before. But in this circumstance I was so moved that I quietly wept.

What can be more important, or more lasting in its effects, than a life of ministry motivated by love? The Lord spoke volume to me that early morning. And reshuffled a little bit of my priorities. I remembered again that whatever our ministry, when we serve in answer to the Lord’s call, we are standing on holy ground. 

When was the last time you heard the renewed call to “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground”? What was your response? 

During our prayer time for UUC this month, please pray especially that everyone involved in the UUC community would know and rejoice that we are standing on holy ground.

 

Pastor Linh Doan

Chair of the Board of Trustees