“Though We’ve Got to Say Goodbye for the Summer”
Brian Hyland had a hit in the summer of 1962 with a titled “Sealed with a Kiss.” I found myself whistling the tune of this rather sappy and overly dramatic song, one that laments the agony of teenage love, as I went about my routine at Pearce today. The explanation for my unconscious rendition of the song is that I’m preparing to head out on my sabbatical.
Pearce, as you know by now, has graciously granted me a three-month sabbatical this summer to work on my D. Min. dissertation. The sabbatical will begin on May 27 and extent through the end of August.
This weekend, I have chosen to reflect on my thoughts and feelings as I step aside for the first time in my pastoral vocation. I’ve titled my message “A Pastor’s Summer Prayer” as I have been thinking of Paul’s prayer for a congregation for which he had deep affection that is recorded in Philippians 1. (If you read the chapter in preparation for worship, give special attention to verses three through eleven.)
I look forward to seeing you this weekend in worship. It is very strange for me to think that after this weekend, I will not be in Pearce’s pulpit until Labor Day weekend!
Rest assured, I’ve arranged for a great line-up of gifted communicators to open God’s Word in the coming months. So, in the word of that old teen anthem, let’s “make a pledge to meet in September!”
The Generations Gather
Over the past two years, Pastor Mike has been reading studies and statistics pertaining to the value of intergenerationalism in the church. He has discovered that students who have meaningful relationships with adults of various generations are much more likely to keep their Christian faith through college and beyond; and, almost as significant, they are far more likely to plug into churches.
Immediately after last Sunday’s service, Pearce’s Golden Heirs and our teens gathered for a potluck lunch. Questions were set on each table to help start the intergenerational conversations. Pastor Mike said, “What I observed was generations talking and realizing what they had in common: fears, hopes, dreams, and even musical tastes, as well as what was different from each person’s teen years. One group of teens in particular couldn’t fathom a world without cell phones or a time when you could purchase gasoline for only 18 cents a gallon!
Food, Glorious Food!
When Oliver sang “Food, glorious food!” in the Broadway play that bears his name, he expressed a universal longing that all of us have “three banquets a day!” I am grateful to Rochester’s Foodlink and a wonderful team of Pearce volunteers that recently helped provide fresh food to area families. Last weekend, 177 families, representing 629 people, received meat and fresh vegetables at our fifth Mobile Food Pantry.
Sue Smout, who oversees this ministry at Pearce, spoke of one woman who asked to borrow a cart to help convey her groceries home to a nearby apartment. Sue, going above and beyond her duty, offered instead to drive the woman and her groceries home. The woman mentioned to Sue that when she got up on Saturday, she told her son she needed to call Foodlink and ask where she could find a nearby food pantry. Then the woman noticed a Pearce flyer taped to the door of her apartment building, and came over to our church for food.
Sue wrote in an email, “I am always so amazed each time we do this….I continue to feel blessed every time I finish a Mobile Food Panty. I am exhausted, but feel good just the same!” Thanks, Sue!
A Verse to Live By
Following last Sunday’s wonderful service of Christian baptism, Ken Price approached me at the front of the sanctuary. “I have a gift for you,” he said, “from the tenth grade Sunday school class!” He then handed me a wooden cross with the lyrics of the old gospel song, “I love to tell the story of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.” Under the lyrics is written “Isaiah 46:4.”
I had to laugh when I got home and looked up the reference. It reads: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.”
I gladly receive this good-natured kidding from the teens and appreciate their thoughtful (?) gift. It will serve as a nice reminder in my home study of a wonderful congregation with a good sense of humor!