I Was Surprised
It was wonderful…and very surprising…sabbatical this summer.
As I stood on my very first Paris Metro ride, heading for our hotel, I noticed a woman looking intently at me and then nodding her head toward the man next to me. I suddenly realized that he was trying to pick my pocket and she was warning me. I was surprised. Cyndi and I worshipped in an vibrant Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn…which met in one of the oldest most liberal Jewish synagogues. I was surprised. When we traveled to our beloved St. Andrews, we visited a vibrant new church plant meeting in a lawn bowling club…the club we joined as a family when we lived there seven years ago. I was surprised. Cyndi wore a pedometer and we know that we walked over 100 miles! I was surprised.
There was much about our sabbatical this summer that surprised me…but I was most surprised by my encounter with God. I left on our two-month period of study and refreshment determined to plan the next chapter of our life together as a congregation. Instead, I discovered that God had some surprising, and frankly, difficult things he wanted to do in my own soul…things that have shaped and changed me in a very significant way. This wasn’t what I was planning on. But it is what God chose to do…much to my surprise.
So, I am going to share what God did in me. Over the next weeks, months and years, I hope, we will be surprised together by the way God takes us to a deeper place of discipleship. I am excited about it and, honestly, a little daunted. But ready or not, this Back Home Sunday…here it comes. I hope you will make an extra effort to be here, particularly for the next two weeks because I am eager to share what I sense God wants to do in our church.
This Sunday will also be your chance to meet the newest member of our pastoral team, Dr. Bill MacDonald and his wife Jenny. You will just love these guys! AND our Ministry Fair will be a great chance to get a taste of the many programs we have to offer. AND…for those of you who, like me, were having trouble reading the words and watching videos in our sanctuary, you will be delighted and grateful for our new video screens! So…there’s all kinds of great reasons to be in church this Back Home Sunday. I look forward to seeing you again.