Greetings in these final days of Advent!
As we prepare ourselves for Christ coming to earth, both as a child and as a king, we open ourselves to the miracle which God works among us. As we celebrate the way that God came into our world and look forward to the way God will return, we recognize that we live in this time of already, but not yet. We live in a time when we have already seen God’s promises fulfilled, but have not yet seen the ultimate fulfillment. We live having already glimpsed God’s kingdom among us, but not yet having seen God’s kingdom come in its fullness.
As I contemplate the already, but not yet of the Christmas season, I am pondering the already, but not yet of Risen Lord Lutheran Church. We celebrate the ways that God has been with the church, but look for the promises to come.
We celebrate the many years that God has sustained Risen Lord Lutheran Church, yet look expectantly to a future ministry.
We give thanks for the time we could gather in our sanctuary for worship, yet look forward to the time it will be safe to do so again.
We honor the children we have welcomed in worship, yet look forward to those we have yet to know and love.
We acknowledge the ways we have been stretched and challenged in service to others, yet look for the ways God will continue to work within us.
We rejoice in the times we saw glimpses of God’s kingdom among us in games and meals and relationships, but look for the coming of God’s kingdom in fullness.
I give thanks for the ways God has worked through my time and ministry here with you, yet look forward to the ways God will continue to work through me and through you separately. All of us together, though separately, look into an unknown future, not sure of where God is leading us, yet trusting that God will continue to be faithful. Thank you for our time together. Thank you for all who joined in worship on Sunday. If you were not able to be part, you can view the service at www.risenlordlc.org/blog. Thank you also for all those who came to share Holy Communion one last time.
I have been honored to be your pastor, to be with you in the joys and sorrows of life. As sad as I am that I will not be able to do those things now that my call has ended, I know your next pastor will love the relationships they develop with you. Though our time together has come to an end, I will continue to cherish each of you and the memories we have shared.
I pray that you will know and trust in God’s promises today and always, that you will continue to be open to God’s call. I pray that you, together with Mary, will be filled with the Holy Spirit and able to say, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with be according to your word.”
In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord,
Let us pray. Almighty God, through your Son Jesus Christ you gave the holy apostles many gifts and commanded them to feed your flock. You equip your people with abilities that differ according to the grace given to them, and you call them to various avenues of service. We give you thanks for the ministry of Pastor Lecia among the people of God in this place. You watch over our going out and our coming in: bless this time of ending and beginning. You surround your people in every time and place: keep us close in your love. You accompany your people in times of joy and times of trial: prosper all that has been done to your glory in this time together; heal and forgive all that has fallen short of your will for us. Help Pastor Lecia and her family and all of us to live with courage and gladness in the future you give to us. As she has been a blessing to us, so now send her forth to be a blessing to others; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
(from Thanksgiving at the Conclusion of a Call, Sundays & Seasons)