Last week my boss/pastor (I guess you could call him my bastor) walked into my office to tell me my ordination date had officially been set for March 17th. Then he asked me to guess where it was going to be held. I knew we couldn't have the ordination at Redeemer because there was already a wedding scheduled for that day, so I guessed the church building where I worked before starting at Redeemer. He smiled and said, "Hendersonville."
Let me explain why that detail is ridiculously redemptive. If you've spent anytime on this blog, you've heard some of the details of my life. I grew up in Southern California as a member of a pseudo-Christian religious cult. When I was fifteen, my parents, along with about 300-350 other members of the cult, moved from California to Tennessee because the leader of the cult told us to move. (If you're interested in more of the story, you can check out my mom's book by clicking this link) Anyway, the city we moved to when I was fifteen was Hendersonville.
A few months ago I got to spend some time with my Bishop and his Canon. As we ate lunch together I shared some of my story and the Canon suggested that if I ever plant a church I should call it St. Patrick's. The reason being St. Patrick was a slave in Ireland and after he obtained his freedom, he returned to Ireland to share the gospel with the people there.
When I heard my ordination would take place on St. Patrick's Day, I had to smile at the sweet, and I believe, heavenly irony of the whole situation. When I found out it was going to be in Hendersonville, the smile turned to laughter.
When I moved to Hendersonville in 1993, I was a slave. I had no idea who Jesus was or what he had done for me. Since then, God has freed me and called me to be a minister of his grace and love. He's taking me back to the city I lived in as a slave to send me out to proclaim his freedom.
The whole situation reminds me again of how beautiful stories are when God's redemptive thread is seen running through them. There are countless other small and seemingly insignificant details that lead to March 17th and Hendersonville. Details I couldn't have pulled together even if I'd tried. And the story it seems God has pulled together leaves me standing in awe of his intricate and intimate care.