Jean Newell, Associate Pastor Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
Showtime! After weeks of rehearsals, actors with broken legs and a script rewrite to include the use of crutches, it was production time! Family and friends gathered in the school cafeteria as the young actors prepared for the play to begin. As my granddaughter Peyton had one of the lead roles, it was important that my son Glen have a good seat. The play was about a play in production. Peyton played the director dealing with difficult actors, technical problems and staging issues. The final line was spoken, the real play came to an end and applause filled the room!
Later, Peyton, Glen and I were sitting in a local restaurant for a celebration dinner. As we studied the menus, Peyton reflected, “That was my last play!” In just two and a half weeks, Peyton would no longer be in junior high.
“We’re all ending something,” she continued as she looked from her dad to me. The day before had been her dad’s last day on the job, as the company he worked for had spent the past year closing the division of which he was a part. As for me, I will be retiring from active ministry.
Yes, it’s true, we’re all “ending something,” but it is also true that we are all on the threshold of new beginnings. Peyton will be a high school freshman, Glen is interviewing for a new job and I am making plans for retirement.
I answered God’s call to ministry much like Moses did – telling God to find someone else! Now 25 years after I first heard God’s call, I am thankful and humbled that God didn’t take no for an answer. Since 2002 when I was first commissioned a pastor, the years have flown by! When asked what advice I would give my newly-commissioned self, I said, “Keep your focus on Christ. There will be mountaintop experiences, tough times, challenges and moments of inspiration, and Christ will see you through all of it.”
As I write this last article, my prayer for you is – wherever you are, whatever you are doing – always remember Christ’s promise to be with us “to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20. Within that promise lies God’s amazing grace, unending mercy and unconditional love for ALL of God’s children. God bless and keep you near to God’s heart. Hallelujah! Amen!