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The Bread of Life, with Plenty to Spare

June 29, 2015

The following article appears on the cover of the July edition of the St. Peter’s newsletter, Connections.

It’s a story that begins in crisis and anxiety. Jesus has been teaching the crowds that have begun to flock to him. The flocking crowds, however, did not pack a lunch. Sure, one boy had stuffed five loaves of bread and two fish into his lunchbox, but how far would such a small amount of food go when there were thousands of folks who were hungry? Jesus has the answer: he will feed them. And feed them he does, not only satisfying their immediate needs but providing enough food to fill twelve baskets with leftovers. What begins in crisis and anxiety ends in provision and proclamation as Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

Beginning on July 26 we will spend five Sundays in worship reading through the Bread of Life discourse from John 6. These are powerful words for our congregation to hear during a transitional time that can produce anxiety. As I spend my last weeks in ministry with you, you will be looking to an uncertain future. Obvious questions arise: Who will be our interim pastor? How long will it take to call a new pastor? How does the process work? These are good questions and they will be answered well by your congregational leadership. Sherri Miller and John Kohler, your president and vice president, are already working with the South Carolina Synod and Bishop Yoos to put answers in place and begin the process. Through it all, we remember the promise of Jesus. He is the Bread of Life and he has more than enough goodness and grace to provide for the needs of St. Peter’s.

There are other questions, too. One might be, “Why is Pastor Dave leaving us?” Relationships between pastor and people are wonderful and wonderfully complex; it is natural to experience a range of emotions during this time. As a called and ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am called to be continually open to the workings of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit blows where and how it will, and I am confident that God is calling me to serve alongside the people of Grace Lutheran Church and School at this time. I am thankful that I will take with me many memories of the ministries we’ve shared, the grace we’ve received, and the relationships we have built. I, too, mourn the closing of our time together but in faith I know that the Spirit has just the right person in mind to be your next pastor. He or she will be blessed to be here! Jesus has more than enough goodness and grace to sustain us all during this time.

In addition to my pastoral duties, I view these coming weeks as a time to focus on our relationships and to support your leadership as they look to God’s new future for St. Peter’s. During this time the ad hoc committee focusing on same-gender relationships will begin its work. I will be here to help them begin their work. I would ask you to hold them firmly in prayer as they seek to gain a greater understanding of what the Spirit is up to and begin to chart a course for St. Peter’s to have these conversations. This is an anxious time, as well, but Jesus is the Bread of Life; he has more than enough goodness and grace to help you love one another throughout the process.

Finally, I want to again say, “Thank you!” It won’t be the last time. My family and I have been blessed beyond measure during our seven years with you. Thank you for sharing Jesus, the Bread of Life, with us. There’s always been more than enough to spare. Thanks be to God!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Dave

From → Odds and Ends

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