Pastor’s pondering

Today we find ourselves in a time that seems full of turmoil, don’t we?  The General Conference of The United Methodist Church is underway, nearly eight years since the last time they were able to meet, and there is so much to be discussed, discerned, deliberated, and yes, debated before decisions are made which will affect the entire denomination of which we are a part.  What exactly will be determined?  We’ll know in another week, so stay tuned!

Yet, couple this adventure with other news.  News a bit closer to home.  News that directly affects our Parish.  Yes, the word you have probably already heard out on the streets of our community is true.  Our time together is coming to an end.  After nine years in the Waverly community and five years in Carsley, the Cabinet of the Virginia Conference, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has felt called to send me to a new appointment.  Effective July 1st, I will no longer be the pastor of the Waverly-Carsley Cooperative Parish but will be moving westward to serve Crenshaw UMC in Blackstone.

As these events have unfolded, I couldn’t help but to recall the infamous passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV) – “For everything there is a season…”  Seasons are for but a time, aren’t they?  I mean, thank the Lord that winter doesn’t last forever!  Amen?  Yet, neither does the warmth of summer.  Instead, it is necessary for seasonal changes to occur, so that growth may occur.  How else would we have the abundance of crops in the fields of Surry and Sussex counties?  How else would the beauty of flowers appear in the ground and on the trees?  Seasons must change so that new buds can develop and all of nature can grow bigger and stronger.  This is just as true in the church as it is in nature. 

However, amidst the complexities of change that we may experience, let us also remember this: “I the Lord do not change” (Mal 3:6); “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Heb 13:8).  The One who created the seasons to change is unchangeable.  God has been and always will be the same.

So, as we prepare for changes that will occur in the days, weeks, and months that lay before us, let us remember and rely upon these passages of Scripture:

“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you” (Deut. 31:6)

“Be strong and of good courage, and act.  Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the Lord God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you nor forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished” (1 Chron 28:20)

“do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isa 41:10)

“remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20)

            While the world and our circumstances may change, the Lord our God and our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will not.  They will always be with us, unchanging and ever-present, to guide and sustain us through Their Holy Spirit.

Blessings be upon you all,

Pastor Steve

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