I'm going to share something that made me laugh just now.
During General Assembly week, while I was in full politiking mode, I received a text from a rather famous (in pastor/theologian circles) person asking if I would have lunch with him. I felt pretty good about that. We had spoken the evening before, it was a friendly and, I thought, substantive conversation. I accepted the invitation and a few minutes later received an apology from my friend because he had meant to text someone else (a good man I also know), not me. I had some sense that this was a familiar event, but I couldn't figure out why.
Just now I was typing the first paragraphs of a sermon I'm calling "Tell," the first in a new series at New City called "A life in 9 words," a topical essentials series. Anyway I was thinking about the connection between evangelism and creation and the New Earth - the sons of adam and daughters of eve call things what they are, and the nations are gathered. God allows us to have the dignity of separating the created stuff, calling people to their real names and real lives. That's evangelism. In the middle of that I thought about how I fall into a little pit every couple of weeks - it's good for my writing but it is a real sadness. And I feel cut adrift for a day or so. During which I try to stay away from social media for obvious reasons. That regular sadness is a part of who I am, even if it can be an overwhelming presence from time to time.
I remembered, then, why the mis-text felt so familiar. The same famous friend had written me an email maybe a year ago offering to send me a first draft of a book he was writing. Again, I felt the swell of pride and belonging. I am somebody. Not cut adrift. I saw that the email was sent to his family members - it meant a lot to be included although it seemed we were better friends than I thought. I accepted the offer of course. A few hours later he wrote apologizing that he had meant to send the email to his very close family member James, not me, and that he was terribly sorry. I laughed and covered my disappointment in misdirection. Somehow I had forgotten this; the same person, the same embarrassment! Twice I was nearly somebody.
I am committed to the idea that both of those disappointments revealed something unhealthy, the malignant need to be important, to be tethered in the ether, the swirl of anxiety and busyness that fills everyday life. But the Good News, if I can stand it, is that I get to be evangelized too; I get to tell myself, as much as anyone, that I am a son, and someone, inheritor of the promise, beloved, etc., etc. I have to tell myself first, the good news. Nearly every day. God gives me that grace, so I don't lose myself.
Only broken people become pastors, by the way. It's worth remembering.