The Gospel According to Showtunes: He Lives In You

Sunday’s Scripture ~ I John 4:11-17

Emotions are running high in my life.  I am sad.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  I am exhilarated.

I am moving this summer…the seventh move in seven years for Andrew and me.  In the next six weeks I will say goodbye to the Reeves UMC congregation that has nurtured, challenged, affirmed, and stretched me and my pastoral identity over the past two years and say hello to the congregation of Tuskawilla UMC.

It is a very strange place to be.

I am transitioning in service from one local church to another.  My family is also transitioning to another residence as well.  So our current parsonage is bespeckled with boxes and packing peanuts and bubble wrap, which is fine until you are walking around in the dark and your foot finds the bubble wrap!  I’ll just say that you wake up really quick!  There are signs of this move all over the place: in my emotions, in my vocation, in my home.  With all this transition some days I am struggling to identify a leg on which to stand.

And then I received a birthday present from my dear friend Lillian.  She bought me a globe.  It is small, about the size of a large grapefruit and it sits atop this brilliant silver stand.  The colors of the globe are muted; the water is dark and the countries are colored in greens, yellows, and peaches.  As much as I cherish this globe, I cherish her reason for giving it to me even more.  She wanted the globe to be a sign and an assurance that God is with me wherever my travels and transitions take me.  Though my appointments may change and though I may move out of one house and into another, my residence and my home is with God.

The concept of Emmanuel – God with us is one we usually hear during the seasons of Advent and Christmas, but let’s not confine Emmanuel to those brief seasons.  God with us is our blessing and assurance each and everyday.  People say that the only thing constant in life is change.  Change is not the only constant; God is a constant – the constant – and with God as my constant I know that God will guide me, ground me, and grow me through any change I may face.

I conclude this post with a benediction that my friend and mentor Jenny would offer at the end of the worship services she led.  Remember this blessing (and hearing her voice in my head) are such a gift this evening.  It is said that this blessing is a riff on what is inscribed on the breastplate of St. Patrick.  I hope you enjoy.

Prayer: God go before you to guide you.  God go behind you to protect you.  God go beneath you to support you.  God go beside you to befriend you.  Be not afraid.  And let the blessing of Almighty God, The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, descend upon you, settle in around you, and make its home in you.  Be not afraid.  Go in peace.  Amen.

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