Part of the self-identity that grew in me during my time at Trinity actually started when I was in high school. And, so, I am would like to begin this new chapter of my life and my blogging experience with a story from another time in my life...
I was in tenth grade the first time I attended a TEC weekend. TEC stands for "Teens Encounter Christ." TEC was a youth retreat that I attended several times throughout my high school years--once as a participant, and then several times more as a staff member.
The first day of my first TEC experience, a woman came in to speak to us. "You don't know me," she said, "but I know you! I have been praying for each of you by name since you registered for this weekend."
Being a tenth grader, I thought, OK, that's a little weird. She went on...
"When I prayed for you, I asked God to give me a word that represents each of you, and a Bible verse. God gave me what I asked for, and now I am here to pass on to you what He told me about you."
Weirder still, I was thinking. I don't even know this person!
"I have put each of your names on a slip of paper, along with the word God gave me concerning you, and your Bible verse. I'm going to hand them out to you now."
This lady must be nuts! Being a good Lutheran, I did not believe in such nonsense!
Then I got my piece of paper. It said:
Rebecca: Name: Prophet. Matthew 21:11,12,14- "And the multitudes were saying, 'This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.' And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all who were buying and selling in the temple... And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and he healed them."Then I stuck that piece of paper in my Bible and forgot about it for years.
At some point during my time at Trinity I came across my old TEC Bible on the back of a closet shelf at my parents' house. It was covered in "Jesus loves you" stickers, Bible verses, and an old nail that I had glued to the front at some point. Inside were bookmarks with Bible verses on them, handwritten notes, and butterfly stickers. And then I found this old, type-written piece of paper...
Rebecca: Name: Prophet.... it began.
What could this mean?
I took the Bible and its contents back with me to my office at Trinity and kept them in my left hand desk drawer. Several times over the years I would open that Bible and read that slip of paper. I found it especially meaningful in those times when I was struggling with my own purpose and ministry at Trinity. When one of our young people, my friend Kevin, died, I pulled out the Bible and studied that piece of paper. Before preaching a sermon on "who gets into heaven" (Hitler?) I pulled out the Bible and studied that piece of paper. When we opened our Code Blue homeless shelter and I was spending nights at church and sleeping in my office so these guys could stay warm, I pulled out the Bible and studied that piece of paper.
I found it again, recently, as I cleaned out my office. When it was all over, and my ministry there was history, I pulled out the Bible and studied that piece of paper.
Rebecca: Name: Prophet....
I guess now I'm a prophet for hire....