It has been a week of good-byes and folks here have been so gracious and loving. Indeed, they have brought me to tears. I will miss them, but I also know, it is time for them to move forward and they have a great, young pastor coming in, and they will be in God's good hands. The good-byes are still difficult and hard. They have welcomed me into their home, homes and lives. One 95 year old, cried and said, "But I wanted you to do my funeral service"!!!! I take it as a compliment that she trusted me to provide comfort and care for her family. I, of course, am greatly relieved that she is still doing well, despite some health issues and is still sharp. I hope she'll be around for a few more years.
So, I leave with some very special gifts and a heart and spirit warmed in the grace of Christian love. Sometimes I feel as if it is more than I deserve. I have felt more loved and cared for in all my many interims than I ever did in my installed position. Go figure. Perhaps, the affirmation is God telling me that being a wandering Aramean is not so bad. Afterall, didn't Jesus and Paul spend their days roaming the countryside?
But, the good-byes are the most difficult for me, even though I am often glad to leave certain things, challenges, people, behind.
And I know the cycle will be begin again, to get to know a new place, people and the community of faith they are. And to pray for God's help and grace to meet the challenges, and to guide them through a time of uncertainty as a non-anxious presence.
One last Session meeting this evening, and I am free to go back home (well, after I load up the van, tomorrow). But, a part of this Body of Christ will be ever with me and I will bear the imprint of their love upon my soul.
I give thanks to God for them, for being blessed to serve here, for such grace and love in the midst of my dark night. God is indeed with us, even in our dark nights and loves us. Thank you, dear Lord.