I was going to title this post “Time of Transition”, but I’m developing a strong aversion to that word. Therefore, I’m putting it in the lockbox of banned words / phrases that are over-used in my life. (Including, but not limited to, “outside-the-box”, “process”, “postmodern”, and “unprecedented”.) This week has brought a convergence of new phases in the three major realms of my life – family, church, and writing.
The behemoth writing project from the big publishing company has moved from creating cool leaflets for 5th & 6th grade students to now creating lesson plans for the teachers. I’m way excited to see what the finished product looks like…and also looking forward to being done with this PHASE of writing.
My mom’s side of the family is moving to a new PHASE after the death of my grandfather, Vearl Schuldt. His wife, Mary, died 8-1/2 years ago. Vearl and Mary’s four children (my mom and her three older brothers) are now the oldest generation of the family. They are now the grandparents…the ambassadors of the traditions and values that Vearl and Mary instilled in them. It’s worth mentioning that Grandpa Vearl is also in a new PHASE now. I remember the day before Grandma Mary died, he leaned over the bed and told her, “I’ll meet you at the foot of the cross”. It took him longer to get there than any of us imagined…but I believe that he’s with her there now…and they’re both happy.
Life at church is also entering a new PHASE, with the recent resignation of my long-time friend and short-time pastor, Eric Carlson. He is going to be an assistant to Bishop Michael Burk in the SE Iowa Synod. This new calling is the perfect use of his gifts and interests. I have been surprised at how shocked / afraid / sad / confused the people of our church have reacted to this news. This is the third pastor to resign since my coming (I’m trying to not take it personally), so I’ve just assumed that it’s business as usual to enter into the “T” word. In fact, the past 2 years have been the longest stretch of time that we’ve been fully staffed. We were probably due for another shake-up. It is with cautious optimism that we enter this new PHASE of our church’s life and ministry. I’m sure I’ll use this space to share more about this in the coming weeks and months. Eric’s last day is December 7.
So, as I (along with friends and family) move into some new PHASES, I’m reminded (oddly enough) of seasons of the church year. Those of us who do the Liturgical Calendar are moving from Pentecost into Advent; a time of fire and passion into a time of waiting and reflecting. This is the time to “be still and know that God is God”. It’s good to remember that God remains present through the various PHASES of our faith journey.