Staying connected is the most important thing we do as a community of faith. We certainly do not always think the same but we do learn to care enough about each other to pay attention to each other. I hope that is what my writing has done, helped you to be more attentive to those you love and to those you are learning to love through this church.
For those who receive the Memo as an email, we know the memo is an effective way to reach you. I’m not sure how Pastor Becky Jo will use that information…it is up to her. Which brings me to my topic for today: How, after all these years of writing and preaching about being connected to each other, will I connect with EPUMC after this Sunday?
The short answer is that I will be praying for, remembering, pulling for EPUMC from a distance. Katie and I live in Eden Prairie, and we’re staying for a few years. We may see each other at Target or Caribou or Tavern 4 on 5 and that will be great. But you will not see me at EPUMC. I will not be initiating or finding ways to extend my relationship with you as a pastor. I ask you to do the same. Yes, we will remain friends… but a bit distant friends.
I feel very strongly about this precisely because I have been privileged to be your pastor and become so closely connected personally with so many. I care deeply about each one of you and EPUMC and because of that I want Pastor Becky Jo to have every opportunity and advantage to enjoy the same acceptance, respect and love as I have experienced. This isn’t something my superiors are telling me to do; it is something I believe is important and want to do.
Recognizing the need for this distance is also difficult for me; my heart aches. It is ok that our hearts ache. If our connection is as real as we claim than what else could they do. But let us not play victims of some policy or cruel turn of life. We are not victims…we are those who have known what can happen when we invest ourselves, when we open our selves to be our selves with each other.
This is the connection Jesus talked about which he called eternal. And although eternal is an intense word for a Thursday morning, perhaps it is something to consider as our hearts ache and as we all look to the future.
Although it puts me well over my word limit for today… I want to close with the prayer I wrote for our farewell.
Eternal God, whose steadfast love for us is from everlasting to everlasting, it is so very difficult to say goodbye. Change is so often strange and today it is also painful. In your mercy, help us to come to believe that the love we have known together is worth whatever disappointment we feel in this moment. May your understanding arms embrace us all, may your courage for what lies ahead be instilled within us all… may your grace, you love which inspires and directs and awaits us all encourage us as we continue the journey of being faithful disciples of you son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Thanks again for reading…goodbye.
Keep the Faith,
Pastor Dan Schneider-Bryan