Is it I, Lord?

I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go, Lord,

if you lead me.”

The Induction Service on 21st October was an overwhelming experience for me.  I am so thankful to everybody who was involved in it.  I was especially touched by the hymn “I, the Lord of sea and sky”, from which I have quoted the refrain above.  It is this peculiar mixture of certainty and doubt in the first two lines that echoes my own feelings.

“Here I am Lord.”  I have left Germany and the Lutheran tradition in which I grew up.  For, as I believe, there was a call to Scotland and the Church of Scotland and also a longing to follow this call. And it definitely feels that MaxWest is the right place where He has led me to.

Nevertheless, there are these uncertainties:  “Is it I, Lord?”  Do you really mean me?  Am I the right one?  I get weak at the knees when I think of the solemn vows that I have made, especially “to live a godly and circumspect life; and faithfully, diligently, and cheerfully to discharge the duties” of my ministry.

It reminded me of the wedding vows.  And it is true, that also applies to the relationship between a minister and the congregation: “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish”.  Yet, there is one big difference: whereas a couple normally know each other very well before they make the wedding vows, the minister and the congregation do not really know each other.  It starts with the vows.  And that is thrilling.  Like a marriage it is not so much a safe haven but the start of a fascinating journey.

I am looking forward to meeting you and to get to know you and to learn from you.  Many things are new for me.  For the last year, that was designed that I should familiarise with the Church of Scotland, was a very strange year, nothing was normal.  And although I have worked as a minister in Germany for more than twelve years, it is like a new start for me.  That is exciting.

“Here I am Lord.”  And with the final line of then I am looking forward to the future: “I will hold your people in my heart.”

Johannes Wildner