I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.
Ephesians 1: 15-17
June 29th will be my last Sunday here at West Springfield United Methodist Church as your pastor. Rick and I became members here in 1975 and the members and pastors of this congregation have nurtured my faith and supported my call into ministry from that time until the present. I recall with thanks the many faces of many men and women who have been beacons of faith and action. I have stored up memories of so many times when we have stepped into the unknown trusting in the God’s Holy Spirit to direct us.
The idea of retirement seems a little daunting to me and yet I realize that as a disciple I am really never retired I am simply asked to form myself anew in new places of ministry and action. Our faith is never just turned off at a certain point but it can be re-invented and rejuvenated in a new way.
The changes of life sometimes seem very challenging but God has a wonderful vision for the people of faith and we are invited to embrace it. I am a little uncertain about the future but I am not afraid.
A long, long time ago when I was a lay person here I was asked to do the children’s time during worship. I remember it was a time when I was uncertain if I should pursue what I felt was my call into ministry. I had a lot of self doubt and confusion about my abilities. As you all know, I love music and so it is that God often speaks to me in music, and not always in religious music. I remember talking about attempting things that don’t seem possible, and putting my strength into believing God would be with me no matter what the outcome.
The song I sang is:
“Once there was a little old ant, tried to move a rubber tree plant.
No one could tell that ant “You can’t move a rubber tree plant.”
Cause he had High Hopes, he had High Hopes, he had high apple pie in the sky hopes.
So any time your feelin’ low, ‘stead of letting go, just remember that ant!
Oops there goes another rubber tree, Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.”
Music: Jimmy Van Heusen Lyrics: Sammy Cahn
I have High Hopes for the future, what ever it is, and I have High Hopes for the ministry of this congregation in all the wonderful ways God will empower you as the Church of Jesus Christ in this world.
I give thanks for each of you and I will miss being here but I firmly believe that God has important ministry for all of us and that there will be many blessings for West Springfield UMC and for Pastor Bruce as he leads in ministry here.