Things that weren't around when we arrived in Piedmont were Facebook (and social media in general), Energy Drinks, and smart phones with touch screens just to name a few.
In fact, broadband internet was not widely available. We were all still on dial-up service. There are a lot of younger people that don't identify with this noise:
Sheryl and I have experienced a lot of changes to our lives. Our two children would have to be the biggest difference of note since we've arrived. They have both been shaped by the church into which they were baptized. There's not a way that I can say "thank you" that would really entail all that we have received from this congregation.
As we think about how God is involved in this change, I believe that God was involved in the system that brought me to Piedmont and God is involved in this next phase too. God is surely at work in the process that will send a new minister to lead in Piedmont.
There is a difficulty in being a pastor that we may not often acknowledge. To engage in people's lives spiritually is an intimacy that no one should take lightly. Pastors are present, next to hospital beds and in marriage counseling. Pastors visit with families newly in the throes of grief. Pastors celebrate new births and baptisms. Pastors share Holy Communion - the elements of Christ - with real people who need this presence. It is an honor to do these things. But it can also be scary and it can sometimes take its toll.
Congregations somehow know this and thus, there is a bond between pastors and laity. When it is time to move on, the bond is stretched but somehow not broken entirely. That's because we remain in Christ together even if separated by distance.
I don't want to leave Piedmont. It is my home and yet I feel God's call to do so. I am comforted knowing that God remains with you and that your faith in knowing this is strong.
As we grieve this change together, I'm reminded by Elijah's call of Elisha. Elijah knows that speaking for God is difficult and he exclaims, "What have I done to you?"
And yet, Elijah doesn't hesitate to call him.
Please pray for our church during Lent. Pray for the Bishop and the District Superintendents who are making the decision to send someone here. Pray for the pastor who will come in June. Pray for the people and the community who will receive a new voice. And finally pray for me and my family so that we would continue to share the love of Christ effectively with a hurting world.
I don't doubt that you will do so and that makes me smile.
|This photo will be 10 years old in September. The ball connected with the target!|