Our Quest for Faithful Presence
Dear St Luke’s,
As you may know, August 27th will be “Transition Sunday” at St Luke’s.
The last Sunday of August will be my final Sunday serving as your Pastor; it will also be the return of Pastor Mark and the Griffith family. Transition Sunday indeed! Pastor Mark and I will co-preside on August 27th. I think it will be a significant day! We will “welcome home” Pastor Mark and family, I hope to bless you and the St Luke’s community, and the community will send me. As if that weren’t enough, our board is planning to have a meal together after our worship gathering… we’ll get more details to you shortly.
Truth be told, I can hardly believe we only have four Sundays left in this remarkable journey!
I vividly remember having lunch with pastor Mark at a Vietnamese restaurant, on NE 8th in late Fall of 2021. As we were getting caught up on life over banh mi and skewers, Pastor Mark shared the seed of the idea of his family going on pilgrimage to Holden. After listening to his outlandish dream, I said something like, “Well, if it comes together, add me to your preaching rotation, I’d be happy to help.” Well, I had no idea what I was saying because clearly that lunch has held a substantial impact on all our lives.
Imagine those first conversations between Pastor Mark and our – then – Board Chair, Tom Bailey, and our Board of Trustees. Or consider the many factors that must have weighed on their minds and hearts as they sought to faithfully discern a path forward for our community and the Griffiths. There are so valid many reasons to reject such a proposal, yet that is not the St Luke’s way. This community has a long history of courageous faith; from CFH, to becoming opening and affirming, to Sophia Way, to trips to Mexico, to 30Bellevue, and beyond… St Luke’s seems to opt for the path inviting faith and imagination.
Going back to early 2022; for the month of January Pastor Mark and I worked closely together trying to find a way to care for the community with only a part-time pastor. For that month we co-presided, co-preached, and co-participated in meetings with staff, board, and ministry team leaders, leading up to our commissioning of the Griffiths. Some of your will recall that at the last minute the commissioning service of the Griffith family had to move back online as Pastor Mark and one of the Griffith kids tested COVID positive. And together we made that work!
Anyone who witnessed my first solo Sunday presiding and preaching at St Luke’s must have been wondering, “What have we signed up for?” I know I had those feelings. I was not used to wearing vestments, or leading more formal liturgy, or the using the lectionary week-in-week-out, and it showed. Midway through the service my alb (rode) came undone and was flapping throughout the remainder of the service. Wearing an N-95 mask meant that my eyeglasses kept fogging up making it difficult to read my notes, so I was stumbling over my notes, and losing my place, then I dropped all my notes and my papers fell out of order. As you might imagine, that was not the kind of first service I’d hoped for. After that rough start, I told a friend that I felt a little bit like shepherd boy David trying on King Saul’s armor before going out to face Goliath… But together, we found a way.
What started off as a short-term gig to help my friend Mark, has turned out to be a great blessing in my life. I have come to love this faith community, and you, and I will grieve not being with y’all come September. Of course, we all understand that this is part of the reality of life. Everything in this life is impermanent. Everything has a time and a season. And I will treasure my “St Luke’s Season.”
With my remaining eNews letters I want to share some of my reflections, gratitudes, hopes, and blessings for y’all. Please know, that I have little doubt that down the road we’ll find ways to do things together, but for now – as is Lutheran policy and practice – come September I will not be in worship with y’all, and while I won’t be with y’all I will be holding thankfulness and blessing in my heart.
I’ll see you on Sunday. Remember, God delights in you, and so does our community of faith! You are not alone.