Skip to main content

Life in Greencastle - Graduations

On my way to the church this morning I drove by Greencastle Middle School and High School. And the regular signs of life were not there. No busy movement of buses. No parking lot full of cars and teenagers with bags on backs. Through absence and stillness the message was clear: school is out for summer.

Many of our lives are affected by this news though it affects us in different ways. For some there are no more children to teach, which means freedom and loss. For some (for a while at least) there are no more tests to prepare for; there is room to stretch and play and discover and be. For some the grandkids will be around more – more time to pour love into their lives and to cherish small wonders. For some there will be more chances to be together as a family; there will be trips and vacations and camps. And, for some there will be more stress in trying to juggle parenting and working because for some summer never really comes.

It is also around this time some of us celebrate graduations. We mark the end of a journey and the start of a new one. Jim and Norma DeLabar are preparing to celebrate graduations this weekend. So is Juliette January – our daycare director. And so are Bill and Corky and Luke. Those are just a few in our fold.

When I graduated from high school I can remember receiving a card – one of the many. But this card still remains implanted in my mind. Inside the card was a quote by Andre Gide: “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

Great quote isn’t it? And so apt for this season.

So often the beginning of summer seems like a blank canvas to us, an uncharted territory. And we know that whatever we do with that blank canvas, wherever we go on that blank map, only today and tomorrow await. That is the joy, the freedom, the possibility.

But graduations, the end of a school year: these are points that seal up time as well. The closing of a school year means it has been moved to the past, to be chronicled in yearbooks. We’ve grown up, we’ve moved on. This is the sadness, the loss, the “done”.

So when we cry while sitting through a graduation ceremony we cry both tears: joy and sadness, hope and remembering. We cry because we are losing sight of a shore; we are losing familiarity and what is known. But, we are hoping and trusting there are new lands beyond the horizon. There is more to discover and enjoy.

As a congregation – a community – we experience not just the changes in our own lives but also the changes throughout all of our lives. Everything is intensified; the highs become higher and the lows lower. But, either way, the gift of community is that we get to experience whatever it is together. We get to support one another when the sadness comes and we get to cheer one another on as we press on to discover a new land.

This weekend we’ll have the occasion to do both things. On Saturday we’ll have an opportunity to celebrate the life of Barbara Silander – child of God, wife, mother, teacher, poet, servant. We will be able to thank God for the “past” of Barbara’s life even as we claim the promise that she has already discovered the best land of all: life evermore with God.

And on Sunday we will gather on the day of Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit came as a wind of promise, blowing strength and direction into the early church. We pray God will do the same through the Holy Spirit for us: giving us renewed vision and unity individually and as a body.

At the beginning of our worship service this Sunday we’ll have the chance to hear one of our youngsters, Zach Wilkerson, lead us in a call to worship that he wrote. Truly, we will be led forward to another shore – even by the visions of our sons and daughters.

Wes

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Acts 2:42-47 - Questions for Reflection & Study

This past Sunday, we took a look at Luke's first summary passage in the story of Acts:  chapter 2, verses 42-47.  Here, Luke is presenting a billboard of what the Church looks like at its best.  He is trying to convince Theophilus that Christianity is worth his attention. 

The early Church captures what all of us are looking for, whether we know it or not.  This is a close community that truly cares for one another, where everyone truly is seen as a brother and sister, and where no one person is considered more or less important as the other.  Needs are being met.  There is joy in their fellowship. 

Take a moment to think about a time in your life when you experienced the joy and blessing of a deep, loving community?  Where was it, and what made this community so different?  What role did you play in this community?
Luke tells us the disciples "devoted themselves" to four essential practices.  The Greek word for "devoted" is one that is often used in the context…

Acts 3:11-21 - Questions for Reflection & Prayer

This week we continued looking at the story of Peter and John healing a lame man on their way to the Temple (Acts 3).  Indwelled with the Spirit of the Living God, Peter and John are close to the source of all life:  Jesus the Christ.  They are continuing to devote themselves to the habits and practices that will allow the fruits of the Spirit to grow within them, including devoting themselves to times of communal prayer on a daily basis.

Now, the crowds hear this news of the lame man's healing, and they run to see this man and to discover what power or technique has healed the man.  They discover the man standing next to Peter and John and assume that these two are "holy men," something many people were searching for in Jesus' day.  This same search still goes on today.  One way we seek a better life is to seek out celebrities, gurus and human leaders that we can put our faith and hope in.

Question for reflection:  How are we tempted in our culture to put our trust i…

Zelda, Jesus, and How We Are Made for the Journey

I am not afraid to admit it.  God has been speaking to me through Zelda.  No, not really.  The voice in the newest version of the game is from someone else, an enchanting voice that emerges at the very beginning and will be with you the whole time.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me start over, at the beginning.
Like all true spiritual journeys, this one begins with an awakening. 
A shimmering light appears before your eyes, and you hear someone imploring you:  "Open your eyes!"  You have been asleep for a very long time, longer than you can imagine, longer than you dare consider.  And as you emerge, you learn a few things very quickly.  
One, you are very much a novice.  You are just beginning.  You do not have much, only a few necessities.  But that is okay, for you are also being given a gift - a type of guiding presence and map.
Two, there is a dire mission before.  A grave calamity has befallen the world, and you will have a part to play in bringing light back i…