Pastor’s Corner (8/27/2020)
“…and looking back across the years I can see that you were constantly there.”
Musician and Composer Kemper Crabb “Doulos” The Vigil
The above words come from an album, yes an album, by the musician Kemper Crabb. It was one of my favorite albums during college, but, it was purged during one of my many moves. Last year it was a gift, along with a portable turntable, from Kelly our Church Administrator and Music Director Mark. Listening to this album brings back fond memories and continues to inspire me today. In this song, Crabb describes the awareness of God’s presence and guidance throughout his life, a sentiment with which I resonate.
Music is powerful and comes readily to my mind, particularly in times of prayer and reflection. I was also struck recently by a wave of nostalgia that took me back to four years ago. As we enter this election season filled with political conventions and inevitable debates, I find myself reflecting on my life then, and how much it has changed in that time frame. Four years ago I was living in an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky set aside for Mission Coworkers. I was there as I transitioned from service in the Czech Republic to life back in the US. I was dealing with a lot of emotions then: sadness and grief in leaving my life and friends in the Czech Republic, anxiety and fear about my uncertain future, excitement about what God had planned for me and my next ministry, and gratitude for my World Missions colleagues who journeyed with me through all these changes. Then the call came that would change my life and the lives of all those connected to FCC. A friend told me about the opening here and a long chain of events began that led me back to Lincoln.
After several months as your Interim Pastor, we joined together to celebrate my installation as your called pastor. Our time together has been eventful for all of us. In these past four years, we have journeyed together through illnesses, surgeries, and grief. We have all seen changes in our lives that affect us still. Many of us have experienced the deaths of loved ones – parents, friends, siblings and spouses. Your love and prayers for me through the illness and death of my mother last year will stay with me the rest of my life. The beautiful peace lily given to me in honor of my mom flourishes in my new home. You have seen me through illnesses and surgeries for which I am truly grateful. We have shared some challenging times. We have also shared many joys, particularly throughout the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of this congregation. We have celebrated many joyous holidays, as well. My life has been enriched by all of you and I hope your lives have been enriched by my ministry with you.
As we move into another campaign season, four years older and perhaps wiser, I invite us to prayerfully reflect on God’s journey with us. These are challenging and unprecedented times. Not only are we dealing with a world-wide pandemic, we are also dealing with our legacy of racism. We will be changed by these times in as yet unforeseen ways. During times of transition, I often hear these familiar words from Kemper Crabb; they resonate in my head and heart. We do not know what the future will bring, but, we can trust that just as God has guided us in the past, God promises to remain with us now and in the future.
I know that as I look back I see God at work in my life. As a congregation we spent time looking back as we celebrated our 150th anniversary and we rejoiced in the ways in which God had been with us. Looking back and celebrating God’s love and presence gives us courage to make it through these challenging times and empowers us to embrace the future.
I invite us all to take time to celebrate God’s presence and guidance in our lives as individuals, as a congregation, and as part of the universal church. God has always been there, is here for us now, and will be with us into the future. Thanks be to God!
In love and gratitude,