Last Sunday at the 8:40 service I was taken by surprise. (Interesting, since the sermon I preached at 8:30 and 11:00 was about the surprises of God!) The service revolved around the Bibletimes Marketplace, and was, in fact, part of its conclusion.
The Apostle Paul was on hand (aka Scott Taylor), and he sang about saints throughout the ages that have kept the church alive and growing….Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, Susannah Wesley, Francis Asbury, and Sandy Giles—wait, how did I get on that list?When Teresa was introduced in song, I was horrified to see her take the stage and begin dancing. And what a dancer she was! (I didn’t learn that about her in seminary!) Wait—I wasn’t told I needed to dance. I didn’t practice a dance! Martin came along, and I have to say wasn’t much of a dancer—I guess his talent was nailing 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg. Then Susannah, who did quite well herself (What would husband Samuel say about that?!) then Francis, who spent too much time on horseback, I guess. Then Paul was singing about me and I had to take the stage and attempt to move with the music. I understand there is video of this, but a warning to the curious—it ain’t pretty!
The theme was about the church being carried on throughout the ages, so I guess in some way I fit in with all those names from the history books—just as you do. It was great fun, and kids and adults alike loved Bibletimes once again—and learned a thing or two along the way about our great history and heritage. Thanks to all who worked hard to make this another wonderful experience.
It’s about time for another to come along and take his place in the history of First Church.
This will be the last Sunday for Susan as your associate pastor and me as your senior pastor. We will be at annual conference late next week through Sunday, and we’ll be tying up loose ends through the end of the month, still making hospital visits, etc. (And I’ll write a couple more posts for you.) Becky Brown will preach for you on June 25, Wilson Strickhausen will preach on July 2, and Keith Turman, your new pastor, will arrive the week of July 4 and preach his first sermon July 9.
We appreciate your love and support. Last Sunday’s reception was very affirming, and many of you have offered kind encouragement. Words are difficult to find at this point to express what we are feeling and the depth of our gratitude. On Sunday, I’ll try to express my gratitude for the great privilege of serving as your pastor and the vision and vitality of this church, its staff, its members…and encourage you on your ongoing journey.
See you Sunday where the church keeps going!