I found it most difficult of all days. Trauma came back in full force. My kids needed to get to activities, so I kept my head down as we crept from place to place. I’d drop them at the door with instructions to come straight out afterward. A hard day. My emotions rode up and down like a roller coaster. I managed to avoid people I know(not good) and fall completely apart on strangers(also not good).
Please understand we sustained our second heavy impact in one week.
Our beloved pastor ambushed our family vacation last week via email with his resignation. This man witnessed our broken but hopeful membership vows and subsequently the vows of our youngest children. He’s married two of our children–will marry the third this summer. He’s baptized our grandchildren and buried our oldest son. The same one we grieved yesterday.
He frequently preached the church as family. He’s leaving us in pursuit of his own extended family.
We encouraged him to plan a wise, cooperative, and considerate move toward home. But subsequently he’s hurried away and also planned abundant vacation during the short months left. I guess he won’t take time off after he begins the new post?
We choose our own peaceful balance over his haste, we choose rather to believe:
“Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.””. Mark 10:29-31 ESV
I can’t sugar-coat our yesterday:
We wept together, yet alone, as sheep without a shepherd.
Just to explain…
Our church holds a high view of itself–particularly its officers. We have no communion or preaching without an ordained man present. So, we don’t formally exist aside from our ordained leaders. Yesterday, my family was left grieving in absence. The catholic(universal) church came through for us as they often will. Our physical family drew together.
Our covenant community rolled over and played dead with distraction. No texts, no email, no facebook. Silence.
The few remaining took comfort together AS family, but opened now to the temptation to lean into his same idolatry. After all, who were we left alone with in our sorrow?
We give testimony against this error: Blood is NOT thicker than water… not here.
It’s an old AWANA verse. Simple. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ”
Seek the church, get family. Seek family, come up empty. We believe.
And this from James 4 addresses accurately our present tension in discerning what’s good:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
I’m not sure how to weather so great a loss… the loss of right and good things dearly held, but now abandoned.
I’ll say more, so check back.