Our Quest for Faithful Presence

Dear St Luke’s,

Where has the time gone?  I can’t speak for y’all but back in November 2021 when the conversation about the Griffith’s pilgrimage to Holden was initiated, eighteen months felt like a long time.  My oh my, the time has flown by!  

We’ve dubbed the 27th “Transition Sunday” while there are a number of shifts at this time of the year – summer to fall, Mariners to Seahawks, green leaves to yellow and red, vacation to school – the St Luke’s reader board captures our transition well: “Thanks Dwight, Welcome Mark.” 

It’s official… the Griffith family has moved back into their home in North Bend, and I’ve moved my pastory-stuff out of the Pastor’s study. 

I sense our worship gathering this weekend is going to special.  Pastor Mark and I will co-preside and co-preach.  And following worship St Luke’s is throwing a party!  Food will be provided… we’re bringing in a food truck.  It going to be a beautiful celebration.

A day of endings and fresh starts.  

Endings can be challenging.  Sometimes people avoid closure; choosing to quietly disappear rather than face the big feelings that often accompany farewells.  I sense we’re on track to end well.  In scripture, departures are often punctuated with blessings, anointings, or commissioning, and we will do some of that; even still, endings carry a tinge of sadness… even when the ending is clearly anticipated.

Many prefer new beginnings to endings.  New beginnings carry the excitement of discovery, meeting new people, and exploring possibilities.  Yet the Griffiths home coming isn’t quite a “new beginning,” it’s more a of a fresh start. 

I think a special kind of grace might be needed for everyone touched by this reentry.  Fresh starts imply a preexisting relationship.  We all have lived a lot of life over last year and a half; we grown, evolved, and experienced both joys and sorrows.  Some of us who were here at the Griffith’s commissioning have passed away or moved; others of us have become vital participants in our St Luke’s community but have only heard tale of Pastor Mark.

One of my prayers is that we might all hold a generous curiosity for each other in this season of transition.  Let’s proactively resist the urge to assume we know the other.  One of the practices that might be worth engaging toward mutual curiosity, might be inviting people to offer a glimpse into their story while offering others a glimpse into our own stories.  It’s often surprising what we learn about people whom we think we already know when we listen with curiosity to their stories.  In sharing stories together, we often grow in appreciation, foster connection, and deepen our friendships. 

Maybe, after our worship gathering, during our Transition Sunday Lunch Party we might invite and share stories together. 

I’m so excited to see Pastor Mark and the Griffith family.  It is time the right time for Pastor Mark’s return.  My friends, my St Luke’s church family, I will miss you.  St Luke’s is forever in my heart.  I depart without leaving, for part of me will linger behind.  Please know that my heart is filled with gratitude.  Always remember, God delights in you, and so does this community of faith… and so do I!  You are not alone. 

Peace, dwight