Thirty-seven. That’s how many consecutive Sundays I have been at Trinity. Week in and week out, I have joined with you to worship God, to pray for our community and world, to share in the body and blood of Christ, and to be sent out into the world as disciples of Jesus. Every week, we follow the same rhythm. The rhythm of our Sunday service shifts back and forth from active engagement where we all stand and sing together in worship of God, to times when we sit quietly and listen for the still, small voice of God. We follow the rhythm of Jesus’s life. The gospels consistently tell us that Jesus would have times of active engagement followed by times of disengagement and retreat.
In the same way, God has established a rhythm for our lives. There are busy seasons and slow seasons, sleepless nights and lazy afternoon naps, times to get our rears in gear and times to rest our rears on the beach. The author of Ecclesiastes summarizes this so beautifully:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8)
And then the author writes this: “What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9–11)
This has been a busy and beautiful time of labor for me at Trinity. We journeyed together through all the major feasts of our church year together. This busy season culminated in a July 4th outreach that saw us welcome and serve more than 2,000 people to our church. In the first six months of 2017, God has grown our attendance by 15%. Busy and beautiful.
Now it is time for me to embrace a time of rest with my family. For the next two Sundays, I will be away on vacation with my family. This is an important and beautiful time for me and my family, but it is also an important and beautiful time for our congregation. No church is dependent on one man, except the Lord Jesus Christ. Please pray for me as I disengage from this congregation and fully engage with my family and the Lord of the Sabbath. I will be praying for you as well.