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Today, I found a blog on which several VTS seminarians shared about their CPE experiences during the summer of 2005.  The blog banner reads in part: "Our focus this summer will be dealing with CPE (Church Punishes Everyone) and the trauma that goes with being a chaplain, being in community, and group process/group think."  Church Punishes Everyone??  Hmmmm.  Okay, what am I getting myself into?  (I remember at Visa some acronyms became coping mechanisms of sorts).

Finding this treasure-trove almost feels like cheating.  I'm reading about their start in, their movement through, and their conclusion from CPE.  While they share their experiences (all the while being very good to maintain confidences of patient, staff and peer), they minister to one another by exposing their own weaknesses and shortcomings while witnessing to the transforming Grace of God through Christ Jesus.  The assurance is they all know they are not alone, and cannot accomplish much good without the presence of Christ, but being in the trenches and foxholes can affect anyone.  As one entry said, "Even Jesus was where I am right now from time to time.  How many times do we read about him going off to a secluded place at night to pray.  If Jesus himself needed time to recharge in the Father, than who am I to do it all on my own". 

I'm excited about this opportunity before me.  But I sense some creeping anxiety.. call it "WWIT" (What Was I Thinking?).  It's a good time to remember:  The Lord does not call those who are fit; the Lord makes fit those who are called.  

One of the seminarians offered this prayer to the others as they began their journey together: 

Almighty God you are the giver of all good gifts.  To some you gave the gift of healing.  To others you gave the gift of intercession.  Some you blessed with a calm and peaceful spirit.  Still others are darn good administrators.  Grant each of us the strength needed in all situations we might encounter this summer.  Bless us as well as the residents, patients, families, and staff members who seek our help and in turn minister to us.  Grant us each a willing spirit to do your work and bring you all the glory.  Fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen!

Almighty Father, your Seeking Servant prays for guidance.