I will never leave you or forsake you.
At the end of the long story of Moses in the Old Testament, there is a twist in the narrative. It turns out that the LORD does succession planning. After generations of promises and an arduous journey out in the wilderness, Moses gets a glimpse of the Promised Land from the mountain top, but he doesn’t actually lead the people into it. He sends Joshua with these words: “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them… The LORD goes before you and will be with you; you will never be abandoned or forsaken. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged
(Deuteronomy 31:7-8).” Moses led the people through many hardships but it is Joshua who crosses the Jordan with the Israelites. In the on-going life of congregations, we don’t gather and say to one another, “Well, we made 170 quilts so I guess we are done with that.” Or, “Now that we brought food to the food shelves, we are done providing ministry to anyone else.” We are always dealing with the questions of continuing ministry and from time to time leadership succession. Pastors, even the most beloved, move into retirement eventually, and someone else comes along to help and guide and offer comfort.
Over and over in the Bible we are told that we are not alone. We are not alone in our work and play. We are not alone in our prayer and praise. We are not alone in our suffering and our dying. You are not alone in this between time of waiting for someone to answer Lakeside Community Lutheran’s call. God, in Christ, is always with you. This is the foundation on which you can rest. You will never be forsaken.
Meanwhile, it’s OK in the midst of missing one pastor to be excited about ministry and plan what might come next. You have all the promises of this life and the next; you’ve had a good and kind leader who couldn’t be with you forever. And now, like those ancestors in faith, you cross into an entirely new adventure.
I look forward to getting to know you all better. I ask for your patience as we figure out the best ways to use my time. Your congregation council is there for you. Danny Wheeler is there for you. My colleagues from Yellow Lake Lutheran are graciously offering their help. And if you have questions or problems you can call, text or email me and if I don’t have the answer I’ll find someone who can help.
Pastor Mary Albing