Some things in life are inevitable. An old saw will tell us that death and taxes are the only two, but there are, of course, more. Sunshine and rain, the turning of the seasons, politics, emotion…the wheel never stops turning. People are born, people grow up, people die. Time rolls on. New folks enter your life, old folks move on. Interim Pastors come, share your road for a while, and then they leave.
If you hearken back to when I first came, you may remember that first Sunday, when I preached about the Lone Ranger, Scooby Doo, and Doctor Who. I talked about how in all these stories, there are Strangers who arrive in a new context. They talk with locals, seeking to understand the context. They identify problems or concerns, whether interior or exterior, using input from neighbors. They equip locals to solve or address those problems.
And then, they get back in their mode of transport, and they leave.
It’s an ancient story, one full of meaning and history. The Benevolent Interloper, the Helpful Stranger. You see this story in movies and tales throughout our culture. But central to the idea of this character, this figure in myth and literature, is that they do – indeed, they MUST – leave. These are travelers and wanderers, cursed and blessed to be always on the move, always drifting, never, ever, settling down.
When I took the role of Interim Pastor among you, I knew that my time would be limited. I had work to do, the tasks of a Pastor, and the tasks of an Interim – both comforting you all in your transition and pointing out the places you that you all told me you felt you had improvements you wanted to make.
At the front of my mind, always, though, was the fact that at some point I was going to hop my car and get moving. My work among you would finish – indeed, it has done, and so my time here draws to a close.
I hope – I pray – that I leave you all better than I found you. I hope you have more questions, more ideas, more stories, more knowledge. I hope you have seen different possibilities and different ways. I hope you have felt stretched and challenged.
The time has come. The villain is unmasked, the crooked mine owner is in the hands of the marshal, and the bug-eyed monsters are in retreat. It’s time for me to go.
God bless you all – I shall never forget you.