Three little letters have never felt so big to me. I have had little letters added to my name before: BA, MSW, MDiv, yet none of those held such weight as the three I received yesterday. The weight of the latest letters is not a weight of achievement, rather one of devotion and responsibility. Devotion to the call of pastor, preacher, prophet; to the church (universal and local); to God in a way of intercession for those in my care. Responsibility to the church I am caring for; to the churches I will meet in my future; to the church who examined, blessed, and commissioned me. These three little letters are a mere title of representation, sure, but today their representation leaves my heart feeling inexplicably heavy.
The heaviness is not of sorrow or pain, not of utter joy, not of confusion. It is the weight of the journey which led me here, the journey of the present, and the journey which has not been written yet. It is every moment of the odd and wondrous calling known as the pastorate. When my head tries to parse through this weight it gets lost in the vastness of it and is left with knowledge of the weight, but nothing more.
I am sure this calling to the pastorate is not the only calling to bring about such a feeling and experience, for this journey is not holier than any other. I hope other journeys feel and know such an experience because it is a tattered, scuffed, and mess journey made into a kaleidoscope of beauty, the only way the Spirit can make such a journey beautiful.
With these three little words nothing and everything changed in one smooth collision. Nothing changed because I am of the same character, ethics, values, and spirit as I was before those three letters. With those letters came no magic to make me worthy of this calling or even perfect for it. These letters did not bestow holiness on me. I am still the odd, quirky, church and community nerd I have been all along. I still get short of patience and grace when I am at my stress point. These three little letters did not answer all of my questions about God. These three little letters changed nothing about me. And yet, these three little letters changed everything. Before receiving these letters I took vows to God, to my ministry, to Calvary, to the churches I will pastor, and to the calling of pastor, preacher, and prophet. These vows bind me to the represented parties and them to me. With the taking of these vows the dynamics of these relationships changed and will never be the same again. These three little letters are markers of those vows and all the change which accompanied them.
Those three little letters have never seemed so real and alive as they do now. I have always respected said letters when they have accompanied other colleagues or professionals; I just never grasped the experience these three letters bring. I doubt I would have had comprehension of the realness and breadth and depth of these three little letters without receiving them for myself.
I have no doubt the journey with these three little letters will change, dwindle, etc. No matter where the journey with these letters takes me I will forever treasure the weight they hold for me today. The freshness of this experience, of this marker in this tethered life of being a pastor is one I will cherish for years to come.
My name is Morgan Caruthers and I am called by God to engage in the ministry of love and reconciliation. In this ministry I will seek the truth, proclaim it, and uphold it every day with God’s help. On July 8, 2012 I received three little letters and became Rev. Morgan Renee Caruthers.