Before I offer these musings I have to give so many conditionals that I almost didn’t write this article. I know moving is hard: physically, emotionally and in every other way. It is also exciting: new people, new opportunities, new challenges. It is also grief and anxiety provoking. It is demanding on families: new jobs, new schools, new people. I am the guy once told by a greatly beloved child who had just been told that we were moving, “Thanks, Dad, you’re ruining my life.”
And, I know that some folks might say it is easy to write these musings given where I have gotten to serve, each place a true gift, including my current ministry. All true, but, I want to offer a few things that I think it is easy to forget in the process of pastors moving to new appointments and churches receiving new pastoral leaders.
Lest we forget: Moving Day is Tuesday, June 26 this year.
Moving makes me rely on God. I didn’t ask to go into this ministry and I am so grateful to be given it. And I am so grateful for the family that supports me in it. Moving makes me grateful.
Moving surprises me. I will be greeted by people who want to trust me. My family may have a harder time figuring out new roles, etc., but I have a role from day #1. I will be given a congregation to lead, to shepherd. People will come to hear me offer grace.
Receiving a new pastor, lay people have told me, makes them rely on God, pray to trust the Church’s systems, and makes them grateful for the gifts of each pastor they receive.
Moving teaches me that you and I are in a covenant. No one signed a contract for all of this stuff that’s happening. Moving in the United Methodist Church teaches everyone, lay and clergy, that we are different than the rest of the world. Wesleyan Christians live the grace and covenant we talk.
Moving and receiving pastors as we do, mark us as people who care about things more than in this world. It’s a form of ministry to be celebrated, honored and upheld as a sign of the Holy Spirit at work in us.
Moving and receiving pastors as we do teaches us not to hold on to the people, customs and familiar routines we love too tightly. But moving reminds me that there is One who does hold to us tightly and never lets us go.
None of these musings take away all the varied costs of moving, but they are from my heart. I have thought things like at every move—and every Moving Day—even when I didn’t move. Receiving churches and moving pastors: you are in my prayers. Grace, peace, and blessings on new beginnings!
Grace and peace,
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HELLO FROM HARVEY – SPIRITUAL MUSINGS ON MOVING DAY
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