Reflections from the Pastor's Study …
Rev. Dr. Sharlyn DeHaven Gates
April Reflections from your pastor …
My friends, April is upon us! I’ve started this article several times and then deleted it. It’s a difficult one to write as I approach my retirement date on April 30th. My mind is full of thoughts and memories of our time together in these past eight years. I am reminded of the day you voted for me to be your installed, called, full time pastor. I was asked then to write my very first article
to you and in that I expressed how excited Fred and I were to move to Holly and serve the congregation at HPC. I was truly excited then and have loved every minute of our time together. Through many ministry endeavors, joys and sorrows, struggles, floods, rebuilding, congregational retreats and other fellowship times -- we have known many blessings. I have tried to give you my best and know that sometimes I have succeeded, while there were other times when I fell short. You have been good to me regardless. We have been good together and I know in my heart that my time with you was truly a call from God. I am grateful.
But before that April 30th date comes there is still much ministry for us to do. We are smack dab in the middle of Lent and approaching Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter. It is truly an important time in the life of the Church! Our study on Simon Peter is giving us new insights as disciples of Jesus. We look at this disciple who was faithful and true to our Lord yet who was a common man, a man with flaws, an ordinary person like you and me. This is the kind of people Jesus called to follow him and serve him. He did not expect his disciples to be well educated -- no one went to seminary -- or to be a person of means. Most of the disciples were poor. Many were fishermen. They were men who were impatient at times, hard headed, some had tempers, some wanted to be first, and they were slow to understand Jesus’ teachings. Yet, they were called to follow, and so are we -- just as we are.
As we make our way through the journey of Lent and to the cross, I pray that you are spending time reading the Word of God and reflecting on what your call to discipleship is. What are the gifts God has given you for serving Him and the Church? What is your deepest struggle in being a faithful disciple? What is the greatest joy you have in following Jesus?
As the time comes for me to retire, it will be a period of transition for you (and for me). You will need to be strong and faithful in serving because the Church needs you; needs your gifts, your financial support, and your talents. A church in between pastors is still a Church -- vital in ministry. As we come to the great celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us also celebrate the many promises that come with resurrection: Christ is with us always; the Holy Spirit fills us with power; death (bodily or the ending of something important) is just a transition into new life.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you
And give you peace.
In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And all God’s children said … AMEN.