The Scripture Readings this week are:
- From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 43:1-7
- Psalm 77 (VU p.791)
- From the Letters of the Early Church: Philippians 2:12-18
- From the Jewish Scriptures: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
The Hymns this week are:
- #410 This Day God Gives Me (verses 1 – 3)
- #644 I Was There to Here Your Borning Cry
- #558 We Gather Here to Bid Farewell (tune #20)
- #422 God Be With You till We Meet Again
The Sermon title is So Long, Farewell...
Early Thoughts: 9 years in, how do we say farewell?
There are a couple of quotes echoing in my mind as I prepare worship this week.
Always leave 'em wanting more --- Showbiz proverband some words of wisdom often shared among church staff (and campers and homeowners for that matter):
Leave a place in better shape than it was when you arrived.I sincerely hope I have done both because they are both gems of wisdom. Don't overstay your welcome, don't hang on too long. But while you are there, be present, be hopeful, work for the better, strive for mutual improvement and benefit.
June 30, 2001 I arrived in your midst. And now, after 9 years of ministry together we bring this phase of our lives to a close. Over that time we have laughed together and wept together. We have shared moments of joy and of sorrow. We have shared hopes and fears. We have found solutions to life's problems--sometimes. We have lived out a covenant relationship of mutual support and challenge.
Now it is time to pass on the mantle of ministry to other people and other places. We do so in sorrow and in hope. We do so knowing that the bonds of care and love continue, even though the relationship changes. We do so knowing that we continue to be linked by the love that is God-Made-Manifest in our lives.
Our Scriptures this week speak of leavetaking and changes. They also speak of hope and promise. As we bring our covenant of ministry to a close may we remember the good times fondly, may we remember the challenges as times of learning, and may we all move forward with hope and trust.
I close my last "Looking Ahead" entry on this blog with words often used to close UCW meetings and church camps I have attended, words from the book of Genesis (never mind that in that context they are as much [or more] curse/warning than blessing), words that are echoed in our closing hymn this Sunday:
May the Lord watch between me and thee; while we are absent one from another
God's blessing and love on all of you today, tomorrow, and forevermore.