Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mr. Hill Goes to Washington

I've been pulling things together here in Sedalia, packing up my study, and preparing to head east to Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac from Washington, DC. More than a few people have referenced the old Jimmy Stewart classic film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Do you remember the story? A junior senator from an unnamed western state arrives in the nation's capital flush with naive idealism and overwhelmed to think that he has been called upon to serve in the center of such power and prestige.

Some people are wondering if I might be in a similar situation. Can a small town pastor from the Midwest take his game to the big city? It started me thinking about the differences between my home for the past 14 years, and my new home in Arlington.What is unique and different and what is pretty much the same? A few comparisons:

Pettis County Courthouse or the U.S. Capitol? The Missouri State Fairgrounds or the National Mall? The Liberty Center or the Kennedy Center? Crown Hill Cemetery or Arlington National Cemetery? Muddy Creek or the Potomac? Whiteman Air Force Base or the Pentagon? State Fair Community College or Georgetown University? Bothwell Lodge or Mount Vernon? The differences are pretty dramatic, aren't they?

But, what's the same? How about people, to begin with. It seems to me that basic human needs are universal, and I'm not just talking about food, shelter, and clothing. Every person, young or old, rich or poor, wherever he hails from, whatever her accent or skin color or politics, desires to love and be loved, to find acceptance and a place to belong. We all need encouragement and the support of friends and family. And, each one of us has to face our own set of challenges and hardships and an unknown, unpredictable future. Crisis comes down every street. Loss is a part of life. And sometimes in the middle of life, people need a pastor.

Here's the other major constant - the Gospel itself. The Good News is good news for all people in all places, to the ends of the earth, to the end of time. This world is populated by sinners in need of a Savior, wandering prodigals trying to find their way home, empty people desperate to fill an aching void. Everyone, everywhere needs Jesus.

So, off I go as the Spirit leads, knowing that for all the differences, my calling remains the same.  

3 comments:

Ouisi said...

Just be sure that the Spirit leads you to stand to the right on the Metro escalators, and you'll find that, like Paul, you can be all things to all people and fit right in here in Rome. Assume that all drivers and pedestrians around you are incautious lunatics, allow half an hour per mile on the highway during rush hour, and resign yourself to the fact that if you're hankering for country food, it's Rockland's Barbeque or nothing.

deck said...

Well said.

Kirk Madsen said...

Drew: we're very excited for Mr. Hill to come to Washington! Ouisi just told you 99% of what you need to know here, but I'd offer (from daily experience) that the final 1% is that you ought to supplement any driving into/out of DC proper with a healthy dose of prayer.

In all seriousness, you're correct that while all of this looks pretty monumental (bad pun) on the surface, the people are what make the difference.

I know Erin and I are excited to share in the work - and the fun! - of this place with you!

Have a safe trip up!

Kirk Madsen