Dear Extraordinarily Fine People: There is a song that Simon and Garfunkel wrote many years ago called, “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright”. One verse came to the surface as I reflect on the eight years we shared in ministry, and the 40 years I was privileged to serve the Lord.
One verse says, (with some liberties taken):“Preachers may come, and preachers may go, and never change your point of view. When I Run Dry. I’ll stop awhile and think of you.”
When I think of you, words like these come to mind:
- courageous in the midst of hardship;
- honest strugglers;
- faithful servants of God;
- amazing children of God;
- and on and on and on…
We have laughed together; cried together; struggled together; stepped out in faith together. You gave me the privilege to be with you in births and baptisms; in grief too hard to carry alone.
And, when I needed the same care, you gave it even before I had time to realize I needed it… surgery; silence; death and loss… and you were there. No wonder I have you embedded in my heart and soul.
I could not have ordered a more gracious community of faith. Mercy. Even when some were not so gracious, I still experienced God’s grace and the peace that passes all our human understanding.
I could not have imagined a more meaningful “good-bye” party. How does one begin to thank you enough? Literally 100s of you came together to make it so special and so humbling all at the same time.
Sharing communion was powerful. It was as though a small window of opportunity was provided in the midst of all the lock-downs and modifications, so that we could recognize more fully, the presence of God with us.
The food was awesome and reminded us of how much we have missed breaking bread together; the financial gift marked “travel” [I mark it as “travel to visit grandchildren”] is on stand-by as we wait for Covid19 to settle down again; the fountain will be a welcome addition to my garden where peace abounds; the exquisite quilt will be a hug from those who stitched it together.
The hundreds of cards and letters are being placed in an album that will reflect what a household of God is supposed to look like. I pray that your words will serve as a positive witness to whomever may one day read them.
I honestly don’t know how my new routine in retirement is going to shape up. I do know that whatever it is, it will need to be wrapped up in the love of God in Christ Jesus.
It is the same for you, all of you, as you consider the future. Always put Jesus in the center, looking at one another through the lens of his presence with us. There will be unity.
I miss you so much. I know that whatever your life-together becomes, with new leadership and unknown opportunities to serve God, you will be just fine. You are prepared to see what enfolds as the future presents itself. You will always be in my prayers.
With much love… and then some more, Rebekah
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21… you may want to underline it in your Bible)