First of all, some of you reading this newsletter might not yet have heard the news I shared with the congregation a couple of weeks ago. I am stepping down from my pastoral position within this wonderful family. Currently we anticipate that my last Sunday in this position will be June 4, 2017. I have shared and continue to share that this is a much thought-about and prayed-about step toward retirement. By my personality I am not naturally inclined to seek and readily embrace change. I accept it as a necessary part of life but all things being equal, I am more inclined to embrace stable consistency. Thus, the decision to step down after a total of almost 33 years in pastoral ministry doesn’t come easily.
Though I don’t tend to readily embrace change, it does make me more focused on and thankful for God’s faithfulness and consistency. Psalm 62:2 says, “He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” I am leaning on this Rock. We all go through times of change. Some of them are anticipated; some are eagerly desired. Sometimes change comes out of nowhere and hits us like a ton of bricks.
By the time you are reading this I expect we will be approaching Holy Week and Easter. Holy Week and Easter help me keep things in perspective. Talk about change!! Jesus went from the parade of Palm Sunday with people lifting up shouts of acclimation and praise, to humility, torture, and death on Friday. In those few days the disciples went from the brightest joy and hope to the darkest despair. Sometimes everything does change that quickly.
God doesn’t change. Malachi 3:6 says, “I the LORD do not change.” And James 1:17-18 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God’s presence and persistence in reaching out to us is permanent. God’s love for us is unbreakable. Jesus and the disciples triumphed though a time of most horrific change because of these truths. These truths about God are also for us.
It is good news that we never face change alone. God is ever walking with us. The only thing about the future I am sure of is that God is walking with us toward it. Our joy and hope never rests securely in our plans. They are often foiled by things we never imagined. Our joy and hope does rest securely in God, for his plans for us are anchored in his rock-like presence in our lives.
As we approach the darkness of Friday and the light of Easter, as we approach all of life’s transitions and changes, let us remain joyful in the presence and triumphal victory of our God.
In Christ’s love and service,