When Jonathan Martin was last invited to join us for our series on The Lord’s Prayer, Aaron was eager (and more than a little mischievous) to share that he was a Pentecostal Preacher who’d potentially be levitating in the pews if we crossed our fingers. I laughed along with the room, but having never met a real life Pentecostal Preacher,I held a deep curiosity about this exotic creature we were inviting into our midst.
I finally met the real Jonathan that night, and could not have predicted him if I had tried. A gentle giant (surely he is excellent at basketball?) towering over me, with the most melodic southern drawl and an incredible eloquence of speech that made me want to hear him phrase even the most mundane statements.
Most importantly however, was his pastoral presence. We’ve had many gifted guest speakers here at the Practice, but none have so clearly stood out to me as a true pastor and shepherd of people as Jonathan Martin. He spoke genuinely, humbly and kindly with every member of our tribe, both high in leadership and first time attendees. It is always a true joy for me in life to meet genuinely kind people with wicked personalities – and Jonathan fit that description like it was tailored for him. I don’t know if you’ve experience this, but sometimes pastors in their desire to be pastoral can unfortunately be patronizing, not so with Jonathan. He felt among us, one of us, a mere mortal just like us who was following God’s call to be a guy who writes and talks about God.
So if you’re uncertain about what you’re in for this Sunday, I encourage you to come with an open heart, come and be restored, for Jonathan is so refreshing. Did I forget to mention that his leading of the service was also the night I cried my heart out on my knees? He partnered with the Holy Spirit that night to hold space for us to break open and be remolded in God’s presence. A modern miracle of sorts.
This Sunday we’ve invited Jonathan to share on who is welcome at The Lord’s Table – and I feel completely at peace about what we’re in for, because Jonathan has earned my trust. I know he’ll be eloquent, intelligent and thoughtful, and he’ll lead us in practice and mediate the Spirit in his wonderful Pentecostal way.
So come and allow the Eucharist to break you open, I have a feeling that you’ll be held and protected as you hold your heart vulnerably – Oh, and fingers crossed, he still could levitate.