Grace and Peace in the name of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 we read the beautiful words about the nature of life. Attributed to King Solomon and written in his older years, they are a summary of the ups and downs and the joys and challenges of the human experience. This reminder of what Solomon learned as King begins this way:
“To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”
I hope you are comforted by the reminder of the truth in this verse and those that follow it. And I hope that you will read them today if you haven’t before. They are a treasure house of the wisdom Solomon came to be known for and every time they spring to my mind, I find myself comforted by them. I see within them the contours of God’s plans for our time on earth. Solomon rightly predicts that we will all know these things in our lives: birth and death; seed sowing and reaping; killing and healing; weeping and laughing; mourning and dancing; casting stones and gathering stones; embracing and distancing; gaining and losing; silence and speaking; loving and hating, and war and peace.
The verse I have quoted above (verse 1) came to mind today as I began to write this Pastor’s Note. As you may remember, it is soon time for me to finish my sojourn among you at PUMC since I will be retiring at the end of June. Leaving all of you will be very difficult for me to do. I knew it would be difficult, whenever that day would come, within a very few months of my arrival at PUMC now three years ago! PUMC is a truly remarkable church in my life-long experience of churches.
I firmly believe that God is the One who brought me to PUMC and I have given God thanks countless times over the past 3 years for doing so. You are a remarkable part of the Body of Christ! You are very dedicated to the practice and application of your faith. You are courageous in facing whatever the future has held for you including the present circumstances we are in now. You are intentional about reaching out to the world beyond the church and caring for each other within the church. And you are joyful Christians as you do all of this.
In this season that we have been together, which is now two years longer than I originally thought it would be, I have grown. I have learned to love life again after a long season of debilitating grief; I have delighted in working with you on all sorts of things including the ever-present social justice issues that plague the world, and I have been enriched by our worship of the God who loves us with an everlasting love each and every Sunday. In all ways, I have been blessed to be at PUMC. And I have received 10-fold what I have given to you. This is no surprise to me as in God’s economy nothing is wasted and there is always a two-way benefit in any exchange bathed in the love of Christ.
To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under Heaven. Solomon is right and it is now time for Norm and me to fully retire and to downsize our home. These things will occupy me for the summer and, perhaps, fall. Whenever our house is sold, we plan to move to Bethlehem, PA just across the NJ border. We have loved this little town ever since our son Russ was a student at Moravian.Pastor
Beyond that move we both see ourselves volunteering with Habitat for Humanity which is quite active in the Lehigh Valley. No doubt we will spend some time over the winter months in Florida which has long been a dream of Norm’s. Wherever we go, we will take the love we have absorbed from all of you with us. We are strengthened in our faith by your faith. We are encouraged to continue to reach out and work for social justice by your example. And we are more in love with God because of the public ways you live out your own love of God, our Beloved Friend.
In the few weeks remaining, I hope to be able to talk with many of you to convey my sincerest gratitude for your acceptance of Norm and of me for these precious three years. Meanwhile, I pray for God’s richest blessing to continue to be yours. And I pray that all who know you, know God better and love God more.
In Christ’s Name,
Pastors Ginny and Jenny got together recently to recall how Pastor Ginny came to serve at PrincetonUMC. For the Video Conversation between both Pastors, Click Here
(This was published in Happenings, the weekly newsletter, on May 22, 2020)