Dear Mount Olivet brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I begin the next chapter of my faith journey, I still have a warm glow in my heart from all the love you sent my way, and my family's way, in January. You were wonderfully affirming of me in your farewells and most generous in giving to me a fantastic macro lens for my camera. Every time I use it, I will think of our time together.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
When I do think of our time together, it is simply overwhelming. You watched my family grow up and me lose my hair! I got to watch your families grow up and, well, you get the point. We've been through a lot, and whether the lifting was light or heavy, it was always a sacred journey because God was in our midst.
While I left Mount Olivet with a lump in my throat(admit it, you wondered if I would ever pull myself together to finish that sermon!), it was mostly a sense of celebration and joy. We had something special: in addition to affection for one another, we experienced, I think, a growing awareness of the power of God's spirit moving among us, binding us together and leading us outward, building on the best of what we already were. I am so proud of who we were together.
Pending my admittance into the Masters of Theology program at Luther, I will be studying, researching, and developing a uniquely, unapologetically, Lutheran model of missional church. In the process, I will refer often to you good people, as examples of what I'm talking about. And sometime in the spring or summer, I hope to have a call that will be compatible with my studies.
I will pray for your journey now as I hope you pray for mine. I know this year will not be easy as transitional years never are, but you are fortunate that God has a hold of you and is taking you somewhere very, very good!
God's Peace, Pastor John