We went to Bowling Green on Saturday and a party in honor of my retirement. Brenda had tried to find a good Saturday for us to come and it turned out to be in June - which says how busy I have been and it was the perfect time. Especially because of the birth of Blair Donnelly - just three days before
She had a dozen women at her house for lunch and conversation and the men went to the church to play cornhole and have lunch. I cannot overstate what it meant to me to see everyone. We sometimes call a church a "family" and these "sisters" were so dear to me. We did a lot of talking about the fun we had had during my years there and then, of course the catching up on the past dozen years. I kept thinking about the book Broken Open because I could see how life breaks us open in so many ways - through deaths and struggles with health and children's problems. But how good it is to be together and just sharing the journey with each other.
We worshiped Sunday morning at the church and I was so happy to be there. I heard a wonderful sermon by their pastor Brent Pomeroy about faith and being excited because God is doing something. And that is definitely how I feel. As we took communion, I saw so many people whose lives had intersected with mine, people who have had some real challenges over the years, and know that we gather at the table of our Lord and receive communion and strength for this journey. It was so good to see a church of people who really care about each other and continue to work together to serve.
And then Sunday afternoon we got to see Blair, Chuck's great granddaughter. She was three days old! As Chuck held her, it dawned on him that she was "his blood" - that she carries part of him.
It was just sweet to see it.
26He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.
That verse speaks to me. The growth that happens is so often hidden but happening. And as I go back to a place where I once served as pastor, I see so much spiritual growth within a church that it just fills me with awe. In some ways Saturday for me, was a time of "harvesting" as I got to just be with people and see that my time there had been good and fruitful.
At the same time I hope that I am still planting seeds and sitting in that place of waiting for the seeds to sprout and grow. That is how I feel about these retirement days of wondering about what is next in terms of doing spiritual direction and retreat work. I am planting seeds and waiting.
And so it is life - all of it. planting seeds, growing and harvesting. or new babies and grandparents and great grandparents. Life - in its fulness, mystery, and wonder.
Here's a good blessing for today
May the God of MEMORY be with you,
filling your mind and your heart with all the good God has done for you.
May you ponder with gratitude and wonder all the experiences of your life -
those that have empowered you and those that have challenged you to become all that God intends for you at this moment.
May you see your life held in the gentle hands of the God who has loved you from the very first.
May the God of MEMORY bless you. (Maxine Shonk)