“We are all meant to be mothers of God… for God is always needing to be born.” ~Meister Eckhart
This quote by Meister Eckhart has long been one of my favorites to contemplate during Advent. How do we react when we hear the Angel Gabriel knocking on our door? How do we bear God into the world around us? How do we see the unwelcoming inns and a hostile, fearful society turning away from all that is Love and still say, “Yes, here is where I will deliver good news of great joy”?
Thank you for bearing Christ to me over and over. I have never been more fulfilled by my role as pastor as I have been among you, my siblings in Christ at Trinity Lutheran Church. I am grateful for all the ways you’ve stretched me, supported me, rejoiced with me, cried with me, and prayed for me. I take you with me in my heart, and I know that you are completely capable of bearing God in this context without me.
In no particular order, here are some things we’ve done together of which I am particularly proud: participated in the synod’s Mission Discovery Journey—a forward-thinking program that set the tone for our time together; erecting solar panels on our roof and updating the lighting inside, signs that we care for creation; the growth and development of our global worship services, singing into being a reality we dream of, where all creation is represented at the table; hosting the Canopy Center and other non-profits in our building—a sign of solidarity with vulnerable people in our community; becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation; the time, money, and effort given to creating our exterior mural and new sign—gestures of hospitality and welcome to all.
These are some things for which I am especially grateful and/or will miss deeply: our Wednesday Bible study group, honestly wrestling with Scripture in our context; the Trinity Stewards Brunch; sharing Beer and Carols at the Harmony Bar; Thursday evening healing services, particularly The Longest Night; serving a prom dinner (along with Zion and St. Stephens) to special needs students from East High School; hearing more than one of you tell me I am forgiven when I really didn’t deserve it; our Easter Vigil services complete with skits and baptisms and Easter mornings marked by champagne for communion and butterflies; the painting of the Emmaus story commissioned in honor of my 15th ordination anniversary; working with our brilliant staff; hearing the choir sing; sharing communion with you 28 Weddings, 61 funerals, 46 baptisms have been significant moments in our time together. I am honored that you have allowed me to share these deeply personal times of grief and joy with you. I’m also grateful for many conversations in my office, your homes, hospital rooms, emails, funeral parlors, Facebook messenger, and everywhere else where we tried to see how God was at work in and around us. Sacred tears and laughter. Thank you.
It’s time for me to go now. But we all can rest assured that this Bible verse, which has always been my favorite, is true for all of us, no matter how far apart we are, or where our lives go next: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)