It’s been quite a ride the last few weeks at the church I work at. We have been preparing to say “farewell” to a very dearly loved Pastor and his family. On Mother’s Day, we welcomed a new member into the Family of God. It was one of the loveliest baptism I have ever witnessed. The congregation was reminded of our responsibility to be part of this wee one’s spiritual growth. The teeny-tiny was so focused on our Pastor’s voice…she wouldn’t take her eyes off of him. I have a theory – she has heard his voice most Sundays during her entire life (including in utero) and so it was just natural that she knows his voice. That’s the response every child brought for baptism should have – because the parents are active in the church, not just there to get the kid “done” (Sorry small rant there…)
Last week was the culmination of the anticipation of departure, and we had a great celebration. Both services were full, and there was such an alive Spirit in the air. Our Pastor complete his final series – where he has challenged us to stay the course, and to remember the call that Christ has laid on the church – we had more children in attendance than I have seen in a very long time. It was a marvelous thing to behold. After the service, the congregation honoured our Pastor and his family with gifts and heartfelt tributes. After our second service we just hung out to visit and enjoy Pizza together.
It was so awesome to see Bryn’s ministry among us, finish well and finish strong. And so awesome to see folks send the whole family off with our prayers, and blessing. To see them go feeling folks excitement for them, as the venture of new things lies before them.
We then come to this past Sunday. In our tradition, our interm-moderator “preaches the pulpit vacant”. It signifies the end of the ministry, and the beginning of the process to find the person God has intended to be the next Pastor. Our first Sunday of transition happened to fall on Pentecost – the day that The Holy Spirit came to the apostles and the first believers, to begin the work of The Church.
What could have been a low point in our congregation’s life – became a Spirit-filled, hope infused morning. The message reminded us that even though our leader has left, our job now is to be in prayer, and wait for the Holy Spirit to lead us. To equip us for the work that lies ahead – not to make ourselves comfortable, or to return to the way things have been before Bryn came. But, to continue the work of reaching out to the community around us that doesn’t yet know the joy of relationship with Jesus. Such an awesome challenge, and a fitting reminder to carry us on in the path that Bryn had challenged us to set out upon.
People were excited, and ready to carry on, not sit and have a pity party at our minister’s call away from us. Which, in God’s wisdom is just how it should be. I have said it before, but if God has called a Pastor away – God is calling someone to us. He already knows who the next Sr. Pastor will be. We just have to be prayerfully faithful in discerning who that will be.
I’ve never been a part of the waiting, always have been a part of the leaving and moving. It will be a fascinating process to watch – and if it continues the way we have begun, it will be an exciting time… We are excited to know that a dear friend is doing God’s work in another part of the Kingdom, and that we are called to be faithful in the challenges before us.