Sunday, December 03, 2006

Only 13 shopping days left until Beethoven's birthday

I miss Peanuts. They're such classics.

We had a bangin December worship service today. It was all Christmas songs (except for Let Us Break Bread Together for communion). In fact, I think everything we played was a hymn. Tom, our mandolin/harmonicist/hand drum player said our beats were rocking. I thought to myself, "Beats?", but I suppose we did throw a few changeups on a swing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, We Three Kings of Orient Are ("Steve, play the drums like a camel walking through the desert" "Think caravan"), and a song about Mary sung to the tune of Good King Wenceslas.

We were going to end with Go Tell It On The Mountain, but as it turned out, we had something different today. We did communion at the end of the service, then our pastor, Don Emerson, read a statement to the church. It turns out that it was a long time coming, but he is resigning as pastor effective two or three weeks from today. He is in his 70s, so it's not so much surprising as shocking. This is, after all, the man that presided over my wedding, that I've worked with in Men's classes and financial classes and running the service and just life in general. When Sarah and I reached out for help, he was always there for us with a good word, faithfulness in prayer, and love. We'll miss him terribly.

As he put it, he's retiring for health reasons. He and his wife Carol spent the last several years (decades?) caring for Carol's parents, who were in their 90s by the end. They're moving down south to a warmer, dryer climate like Arizona or Texas. It sounds to me like a last grand adventure with his wife Carol. I wonder how I would live in a situation like that, what I would do to redeem the time.

It's a happy parting in some ways. He's not dying, but this enormous part of his life is ending. He's probably been a pastor for more than 50 years. We can all rejoice in the new things God will do in his life.

I don't know what the transition will be like at Maranatha. It's a strong community with many natural leaders, so I don't doubt we will sail ok. At the same time, it will feel a little funny because in all likelihood, Sarah and I and Alex will leave the valley this spring too. First the pastor, then us, and that means the worship teams will get reconfigured as one goes headless. And there's a pastoral search process, and maybe guest speakers delivering the sermons.

I wonder what it will be like to say goodbye. It might be a last goodbye.

I guess if you're reading this and you used to go to Maranatha, if possible you should come up to Logan for his send-offs. I think his last Sunday will be the 24th, if I heard right, but it might be the 17th. And no doubt there will be a bon voyage sometime soon. I will post more details as I become aware of them.

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