As humans, we’re good about marking endings and beginnings. Coffee at the start of the day and family movie night on Friday. The baptismal liturgy and the funeral liturgy. The graduation party and the retirement party. The beginning of a new appointment and the last Sunday’s farewell celebration. But what about all the in-between time? These seasons filled with the so-called ordinary are when I’m in need of some Wesleyan Means of Grace–in other words, an extra dose of God’s presence.
I was telling my parents the other day that Clare’s school is having a little outdoor graduation celebration for all the 5th-graders to mark the end of their elementary school career. “Will you cry?” she asked. “I don’t think so,” I said. I don’t cry often at the “big” moments. Instead, I grieve the ordinary moments that are remembered but gone for good.
Ecclesiastes tells us there’s a time for everything–to be born and to die, but what about the in-between living part? To laugh and to cry, but what about all the other times when my facial expression shows neither? To tear down and to build, but what about the time to just hold steady?
In thinking of my time as a district superintendent, of course I’ll remember some of the highest highs and lowest lows. But most of what I will miss is the so-called ordinary. Seeing the faces of colleagues at district meetings. Visiting with lay leaders and pastors about some situation whether challenging or joyous. Hearing call stories from candidates for ministry and lunch meetings at the district office. Connecting with people at Charge Conferences. Driving out to beautiful places like Bend and Driftwood and worshiping at churches across the district. Walking from the parsonage to the elementary school just a few blocks away. These are the moments that are for me both ordinary and holy. These are the moments I grieve. Indeed I will miss so much about serving as your DS. Above all, I am grateful for the opportunity as these seven years have been among the most rewarding in all my years of ministry. In the words of our United Methodist liturgy:
I thank you, members and friends of the Capital District UMC, for the love and support you have shown me while I have ministered among you. I am grateful for the ways my leadership has been accepted. I ask forgiveness for the mistakes I have made. As I leave, I carry with me all that I have learned here. I release you from turning to me and depending on me. I encourage your continuing ministry here and will pray for you and for our new District Superintendent Rev. Laura Merrill.
“We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8: 28)