So on Tuesday I’m standing in line at about 3:30 p.m. at the Caribou by Kowalski’s where all the high school youth come after school. It is finally my turn to order. I say, “I’ll have a medium coffee and steamed milk.” The young barista looks up at me and with a straight face says, “I’m sorry sir, we are out of coffee.”
I looked back at her, and honestly I did not know what to say. I mean, how is a Caribou ever out of coffee? I just stood there in an awkward moment of profound and disturbing disbelief. We stared at each other for a moment until it dawned on her to tell me that she would brew some more right away.
I am seldom at a loss for words. An important part of what I do is give words and definition to moments that can be difficult for others to express. And so in times like this, I’m reminded that when we do not know what to do or say next, when our world does not make sense, perhaps it is a moment to just hold on and see what happens next.
I am so very proud of the way that we as a church have handled the announcements of the retirements of Don and Deb and myself. As you have read the memos of Deb and then Don, I hope many of you have a better understanding of the timing of our retirements even as some of us may still be in that awkward moment of disturbing disbelief.
For those, really for all of us, I want to share something that Don and Deb and I have noticed in the two weeks following this announcement. Our attendance at Sunday worship and Wednesday Night Live is very, very strong. Deb has more kids in “Connect Club,” which is the every other Wednesday night thing for 3rd and 4th Graders, than ever before. Don reports that there are more people who have signed up to sing in this his last cantata than we have chairs in the choir loft. Yesterday when he told me this he added, “Maybe I should have retired three years ago.” And he also says, we can bring in folding chairs, so get to rehearsal on time if you want a comfortable seat.
We have weathered the moment of shock and discomfort, the awkward moment when none of us knew what to say about Don, Deb and I retiring at the same time. And having stood in that moment and waited for the awkwardness to pass, we have discovered that what happens next is what has been happening around here for a very long time. God is showing up and is inviting us to experience the vitality, strength and community that comes when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit to what is coming next.
Keep the Faith,