Lillian Daniel and Martin Copenhauer authored a book several years ago entitled This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers. I think of this book as I reflect on my years in ministry. Ordained ministry is a wonderous calling. Over the past 30 years I have served in a variety of churches and as a hospice chaplain. There were joys and challenges throughout the journey. Each congregation and setting had its own personality. All have been on a journey to be faithful to their mission. I am blessed to have walked along with them.
I am privileged to have served as your Pastor for Care & Community. As I reflect on my years walking along side each of you, three ways that you imitate Jesus are truly clear to me. You are a congregation that serves the Lord. There are many ministries that require the work of the people, lots of people, in order to happen. Family Promise, FreeStore, the Food Pantry, Love Lunch, just to name a few. Without the support of people in this congregation, those ministries of love could not happen. The love you share outside the walls of this building tells the world that the Church is about love. Love of God and love of our neighbors. This is an important message in a world where love is at a premium.
Love is lived in this community. Pastor Tim led the congregation in identifying values and beliefs early in my years at Holy Trinity. I have seen the church move intentionally into living those values and beliefs as we relate to one another and the world in which we live. Love is seen as individuals offer support to someone facing challenges in life. Love is extended to those who are guests in worship to help them know they are welcome, loved, and then included. Love is put into action as you live the Holy Trinity Welcome Statement, intentionally welcoming all people who are just as broken as we are. “You are Loved” and you are welcome here is a profound message. It is sad that it is profound in the Christian community because it is the message of Jesus and the message throughout scripture. You boldly proclaim it and live it!
You are grace filled. We all fall short. We are all imperfect. I sure know that I am! I have appreciated your grace in my own failings and your love in unexpected times. I see you offer grace to each other. You dispense grace to the world in your generosity and compassion. You, Holy Trinity, continue to grow increasingly of who you are as a representative of God’s love, grace, and peace for the world. Thank you, Holy Trinity, for who you are and for your love! You are a blessing.
God is at work, ever shaping and molding this community to be an expression of life in Christ. I am blessed to have served in your midst. It is the cross of Jesus that brought us together on our journey. The cross upon which Love suffered. Love who became incarnate and lived among us, doing what humans do, experiencing what humans experience, yet remaining focused on his goal and purpose of giving life through his self-emptying on the cross. Except for Jesus’ resurrection, there has never been a love so profound. As we move toward celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, we first remember his journey to the cross, his suffering and death.
As I leave your community as your Pastor for Care & Community, I am confident that we remain connected though Jesus and the cross. We will continue our journeys in faith, together in the one great body of Christ, yet physically apart. We will be serving the same Lord and Savior. The words to the hymn, “Bless Now, O God, the Journey,” speak of the journey. Blessings on your journey!
Bless now O God, the journey that all your people make,
The path through noise and silence, the way of give and take.
The trail is found in desert and winds the mountain round,
Then leads beside still waters, the road where faith is found.
Bless sojourners and pilgrims who share the winding way;
your hope burns through the terrors, your love sustains the day.
We yearn for holy freedom while often we are bound;
Together we are seeking the road where faith is found.
Divine eternal lover, you meet us on the road.
We wait for lands of promise where milk and honey flow,
but waiting not for places, you meet us all around.
Our covenant is written on roads, as faith is found.