There is a joke that has surfaced from time to time at seminary. It goes something like, "If you want to prove God has a sense of humor, make plans." This joke/maxim has various incarnations, but you get the gist.
I ran smack into that this week in a most unusual way. I had been, for about a year now, considering going into the Air Force Chaplain Candidate program. This program is essentially an ROTC type thing for seminarians. You do a summer of officer and military chaplain training, and then an actual 3 month tour the next summer at a base. I had even filled out the paperwork to apply to the program. You wouldn't believe the amount of military and church bureaucracy you have to cut through to get into the program.
And then, lo and behold, I began to discover (again) that God has a sense of humor. I came back to my room sometime last week. There was a voice mail on my cell phone from a number and area code I did not recognize at all. The message was from a representative in the Diocese of South Dakota who had heard I was doing some research on ECUSA and Native American mission work and that I was part Native American and in seminary. The representative was wanting to know if I would be interested in an internship next summer at the Rosebud Sioux reservation, part of the "Mutual Ministry" cluster in that diocese, if you are familiar with that ministry model.
Over the next few days, I was e-mailing the priest in charge so I could get the skinny. Let me get this right...Internship with housing provided, Small town ministry (Native American at that), South Dakota (a place I really love), and a priest in charge who is a Seabury grad and likes the British TV show Doctor Who (which I do). Talk about hitting all the right buttons. They pretty much offered me the job on the spot, provided I fly out for an interview between now and then.
Now it's time, as Paul Harvey says, for the rest of the story. I was highly intrigued, but now conflicted. I had had my heart set on what I wanted to do to serve the kindgom, at least for next summer. After much thinking and praying, one of my Professors said something in class about praying to the Holy Spirit before you go to sleep for an answer to a dilemma. And so I did. I woke up this morning feeling like my answer was forthcoming. This rarely happens to my cynical mind. So I get to mass this morning, only to discover that we were celebrating the feast day of David Oakerhater. I think he's only like one of the two Native American saints we have in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and certainly the one with the coolest name. Way, way, ways aside (Seaburians will understand this reference), I guess I got my answer.
The sound you are hearing is God laughing at my well laid plans.