Yes indeed, it feels very strange, these last few days with my congregation of ten years. It would feel sad, but much less strange if I knew what, if anything, is coming next for me.
In the entry is a display that includes a carving of Jesus' head with a crown of thorns, dry palm branches, huge nails and a real crown of thorns.
In the sanctuary the drapery on the windows has been changed to include purple. There are dark purple candles on an altar table....and so on. Our sanctuary cross is draped with purple.
This is all quite as usual. What feels strange is that I will not be there for my favorite Sunday of the year--Easter--when the sanctuary is full of fragrant lilies and the purple drape and crown of thorns are replaced with a gleaming white drape and a golden crown.
This is my daughter, Kris, and me as we are singing a duet together this morning. "He is Jehovah"--the song is a family favorite and has a Jewish flair.
And what an honor and joy to dedicate a brand-new baby boy to God. Here I am with his grandmother, mother, and the three godparents. I know many of my cyber friends are from church traditions that baptize babies, so if you have not seen a baby dedicated, allow me to explain. We are of the branch of the Church tree that practices what is commonly called "believer's baptism" meaning that we baptize individuals (they can be children, teens, or adults) when they make a personal statement of faith. Like those of you who baptize little ones, we do value covenant relationship with one another and God, and we take this time to ask God's blessing and care for the baby and the family.
During a baby dedication the godparents, the parent(s) and the church make promises to God, and we welcome the little one to the congregation.
Some day, I hope, someone will baptize this little person after he has made known his intent to follow Christ.
One of the first tasks I had when I arrived at this parish was sitting at the hospital with the family of this young mom (she was eight years old and was not part of our church at that time) as they kept a vigil with their husband, step dad, and grandpa. I was soon to bury him. And now, ten years later, one of my last pastoral acts was to offer this beautiful little one back to God. That is so fitting, isn't it?
Thank you, Lord God.
One more Sunday. This week I am packing my office. And looking for a job of some sort. Many of you have asked me why that is the case. If I can, I'll explain somewhat in a future post.