As I write this first newsletter to you, Lindsey, the kids and I are all slowly making our way from Austin to Delaware. The excitement is palpable for us – even though we’re spending some time road tripping the southeastern part of the country, we can’t stop talking about what we get to look forward to – our new home, our new church, and a return to a place that has never stopped feeling like home. We are ready to start the newest chapter with our lives with each of you.
It was easy to want to skip past the last couple weeks of Seminary and move right towards this time, but I found that the closer the time came to graduation, the more bittersweet it became, and the more I wanted to slow time down a little bit and be amidst my peers and the faculty that I had journeyed with for the last three years. I wanted to celebrate with them, sure, but I also wanted to mourn. We all were losing a community that had fostered us and helped us become that the type of people that could serve the church. So we spent a little more time at the playground, we hugged our friends a little more, and we celebrated all of the “last lasts” of our time in Austin, which included all of the beautiful messages of support from many of you in the form of letters, phone calls, and posts on Facebook.
One of the important tensions of our faith is living in “in betweens” – finding God in both the mourning of an end and the celebration of new beginnings. We spend so much time thinking of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, for instance, that we can overlook Saturday: a time where we as resurrection people know good things are on the way, but a time where we also share in the pain of the disciples, not knowing what would happen next. Even today, we live in anticipation of a coming Christ but live in an “already but not yet.”
In this coming month, our congregation will also live in that tension more particularly. I will be with you but won’t be installed until the end of the month. You as a congregation recently sent Don on his way after so many years of loving service to Old Stone. I imagine it will be easy to want to move through June quickly. But I’d like to invite each of us (myself included) to look at this coming month as a time to live in the tension. There are places where we need to mourn, as well as places we need to celebrate. I’m excited to begin to hear the many stories that are contained within our congregation, and I look forward to this time to just be with you, kind-of-but-not-actually-your-pastor-yet, enjoying each day as they move by. Who we will be starting June 30thhas been shaped in so many ways by all the days before it, and those days are worth remembering in the month ahead. We won’t get the gift of this month together ever again.
As it will always be, I’m available to each of you to sit and listen and learn with you. Don’t hesitate to set up a time to visit, and I’m so excited – in its due time – to be installed as your pastor.