“Lunch atop a Skyscraper”

Creative Commons "United Nations: Lunch atop a Skyscraper" by Matt_Weibo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Creative Commons “United Nations: Lunch atop a Skyscraper” by Matt_Weibo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

During a visit to New York City a few years ago, I picked up a print of the iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” photo. It depicts eleven construction workers casually enjoying their lunches, despite the fact they are suspended – UNTETHERED – 840 feet above the city streets. (The picture was taken before the terrible nuisance of safety standards.) The image really grabbed me, though it took some reflection to figure out why.

Then I realized that this is how I see my ministry. Risky. Exhilarating. Collegial. Soul-feeding.

Coming out of seminary, the plan was to serve one church after another, with long tenures in each position. My career has looked nothing like that, which was a source of great anxiety for several years. Now I realize I’ve had the opportunity to be nimble in my professional life. I’ll never be rolling in cash Indecent Proposal-style, but my work brings me joy and fulfillment. And my purpose is clear: facilitate health in clergy and congregations so that together they can focus on the work God has for them.

At times it feels like my feet are dangling from the girder and the wind is kicking up. But as long as I’ve got a job to do and good people to do it with, I’d rather be on the rail than have two feet planted on the ground. I keep this photo around to remind me of that.