“They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.”
~~ Acts 20:37-38
One of my favorite books from childhood was called The Monster at the End of this Book. It featured a character from Sesame Street who learned there was going to be a monster at the end of the book, and so he spent the entire book trying to convince the reader not to turn any pages – thereby never getting to the end of the book where the monster waited.
It turns out that he was the monster at the end of the book, and there was nothing to have been afraid of all along.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling that a little bit these days. As we progress towards my last day, I’m not particularly quick to turn the pages. I’m savoring the time remaining that I get to spend with you.
In Scripture, we find several instances of sad goodbyes. The one above, from Acts, describes the apostle Paul’s departure from the elders at Ephesus. He had ministered alongside them for years and now was headed for Jerusalem.
Of course, we have a distinct advantage today. We have Facebook! We have conferences. We don’t have to travel by foot and by boat to see one another’s faces again. I am delighted to stay in touch with you on a personal level – to see your faces, even if only online.
The denominational guidelines are quite clear, though, that after May 9, I can no longer be your pastor. As much as I would be honored to return and officiate weddings and funerals, etc., it is against denominational policy. This separation allows me to connect fully with my new congregation, and it allows your new pastor to establish him or herself as your minister.
So, we enjoy each other’s fellowship in these days ahead, knowing that God goes before us. We don’t need to fear as we turn the page.
In Christ’s love,
Apr. 4: John 19:41-42, 20:1-18, The Gardener Rises
Apr. 11: 1 Peter 3:13-22 – Baptism Sunday
Apr. 18: Matthew 14:13-21 – Children’s Service Project Sunday
Apr. 25: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
May 2: 1 Chronicles 29:10-22
May 9: John 14:25-31