It’s hard to believe that next Monday, July 1st, I will begin my 9th year at Park Avenue UMC. Change has been our constant as we have tried to keep up with an ever-changing and constantly evolving world. Believe me when I tell you that this is a topic on the lips of almost every clergyperson I know, regardless of denomination.
This time of year always takes me back to that first Sunday and that first sermon among you. Here is an excerpt:
I commit to loving and caring for you; to listening and being present in your times of joy and sorrow; life and death; in moments of clarity and assurance but also moments of doubt and frustration.I am hopeful that we will grow on one another; that in the context of our shared struggles for faith, love, and hope we will discover and rediscover our true selves, who we really are and who we can be. And somehow, together live out a powerful witness of God’s love on this corner of Park Avenue and 86th Street and in the world.Today, we set out not knowing what the end will be. Like others times in our lives when we have set our sights on a new future, we will need to rely on God to get us through. It is a daunting task but already, I believe in what we can do.At times, the journey will be an exhausting one. We will most likely get on one another’s last nerve, I am sure. That’s what happens in community; in relationships. If we are committed to going the distance and living authentically, we will have our struggles. But we don’t have to end in struggle. Our goal is to end in love for that is the witness that God gives us. That is what it means for us to be gathered here in this place; to build ourselves and one another up so that we can go out into the world and make a difference. That’s where we begin and that’s where we want to end.
These words are as true for me today as they ever were, and I hope they hold meaning for you as well. Two things I know for sure: (1) God is present with us and (2) the city of New York, our nation, and world need our witness.
This will be the last Life & Faith until the Friday after Labor Day, as I scale back a bit over the summer. Please continue to look to the church website for announcements and updates and follow us on social media. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday mornings and pray that these upcoming weeks will be filled with good rest, joyful peace, and lots of fun.
Grace and peace,