As you read this, I’ll probably be somewhere along Interstate 80, making my way to Napa across this big country of ours in my little, gray Kia Soul. i finally found an apartment and I’ve filled up three storage cubes that are also on their way cross-country via semi truck. This new chapter of serving as your pastor is very quickly becoming reality!
I know that many of us enter into this new relationship with much anticipation and excitement. I’m also sure that we have a host of expections for one another which may or may not be realized. I have so many questions about life in Napa and at Covenant Presbyterian Church. In many ways, it feels as though I am on my way to begin life in a new country; I’ll need to trust that with each passing day, I’ll become more familiar and comfortable with all of these change in my life.
Interestingly, Jesus and his disciples were constantly on the move and in the midst of transitions. I imagine Jesus and his disciples held simliar hopes and fears as they traveled throughout Palestine and vicinity. I’m sure they were excited as they made their way to the holy metropolis of Jerusalem; they would be exposed to so many new sights and sounds which were uncommon in their rural villages. At the same time, I would also assume they were nervous, even fearful, about how they would be received, what sorts of people they would meet, if they would fit in, etc. The four gospel accounts recount the way they were both welcomed and ocasionally rejected. The gospels also demonstrate the ways that Jesus and the disciples reached out to others and how, at times, others reached out to them. It is clear that their travels were full of many ups and downs. In the same way, it’s always the case that we face our own highs and lows in our journeys and transitions. Often the best we can do is simply face each day as it comes and offer one another kindness.
I like to give myself a year to just to experience the seasons at a worshiping community and to build relationship with congregants. As the weeks pass, I’ll absorb more and more of the protocols and the culture, and in time, we’ll begin seeing areas for new growth and ministry. Ultimately, I remember that we are all in God’s hands, and God’s Spirit is very much at work in our lives, our communities, and this whole world. And so I trust in God and I trust the process. God is constantly nudging us all along to where we need to be. We can be anxious and attempt to place our own standards and perimeters on others and our experiences, or we can place our faith in the god of love and open our arms wide to the new opportunities that we are presented with each day. I’m ready to strap myself into the roller coaster with you all, and I’m so very thrilled to see where God takes us!