So it seems that God and the universe have something of a wacky sense of humor. A lifelong avoider of public speaking, I started finding my way out of front-of-the-class speaking assignments as early as third grade. I’d read extra books, write extra reports, create elaborate tri-fold poster board creations, pretty much anything to get out of having to face down a roomful of eyes and the sound of only my own voice. I’ve always been a relatively confident person, but something about the sheer vulnerability of public speaking renders me a bit… ridiculous. Hands shaking, voice quaking kind of ridiculous. I’ve gotten over this in stages, though not without a few tears shed over speech and preaching classes at seminary.
People frequently, and very sweetly, reassure me that this ongoing struggle doesn’t show much when I preach. I hope they are right. This is a good thing, since that’s a part of my job. I love crafting sermons, and I’m learning to love the act of delivering them.
But, getting a grip on the pulpit (often literally), I thought God’s hilarious choice of calling me into a life of preaching was just about all the comedy I needed. I was spectacularly wrong, as is often the case when I try to guess where my life is heading. Within the past few weeks, I have been invited to speak about the justice issue of human trafficking multiple times and the list is growing. At a Mosque. At a Big 10 university. At a high school to a hundred or more teenagers. At churches. At community centers.
I made a promise a few years back to communicate about trafficking to anyone, anywhere, any time because I think it’s incredibly important. People must know this is happening, and must be called to do something about it. I just never assumed it would be me doing the talking.
So, dear friends and family, please feel free to pass the word around that I'm available to inform groups about human trafficking. If you know of a group that is interested, please feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am incredibly honored to be doing this work alongside the parish ministry I love, and am going to continue to do my best to swallow those waves of nervousness that are becoming part of the preaching and teaching and speaking experience for me. There’s a lesson in all of this about call, about God equipping you for what you need to do, and maybe about keeping your mouth shut about things that make you nervous, lest you be thrown head first into them. And if nothing else, it’s a reminder that God is very, very funny.