Thank you! Thank you for the warm and enthusiastic welcome. We are so excited to be here and look forward to getting to know you in the months and years ahead. It is, of course, more challenging to see one another given our current pandemic restrictions. Nonetheless, I am certain we will grow together and learn from this historic time. I am trying to remember to take both the short and the long view these days.
The short view means paying attention to the gift of the moment, the blessing of each day, noticing the people, the beauty right in front of me. Right now, for example, as I write this my cat is sprawled across my lap, purring and perfectly content. My house is quiet, and my two young adult daughters sleep safely upstairs. Thanks be to God for such everyday goodness.
The long view entails remembering what has come before this time and therefore what will surely come after it. The long view prompts me to think about the events endured, survived and overcome by past generations. In so doing I am offered an assurance that God can use our challenges to shape us into better likenesses of Christ.
Last week I went to my new office to pick up some paperwork. I glanced out my window and saw the columbarium. Before I drove home, I took some time to walk around and read the markers located there. I wanted to give thanks for the people who planted the vineyards from which I now enjoy fruit. I wanted to remember the long view, be reminded of where we are all going and subsequently what truly matters. I noticed dates that coincided with my birth year, flowers lovingly left, a small balloon with “Happy Birthday” tucked into a potted plant and even a bright blue model car affixed to one of the plaques. The short and long view came into focus as I read the names, saw the tokens of affection beside them and remembered how much God has done before me, without me. and yet how much God works through each and everyone of us while we are gifted to be on this earth.
Thank you for welcoming me and my family into this part of God’s household. I am so excited, so grateful, to participate with you in what God is doing here and now, trusting that God has plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future that will not only be a blessing to us, but to the world.