You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. (Psalm 30:11-12)
Easter Sunday has come and gone. Eastertide continues for the next few weeks until Pentecost. And yet, in the midst of all this celebration, we come to a rather odd set of Sundays for our Highland family.
This past Sunday, we celebrated with our High School Seniors who will soon be graduating. We heard their words of gratitude. We gave them a few bits of advice (that they hopefully will remember). And we wrapped them in blankets to represent our ever-abiding presence with them, even as we prayed for their future. It was a joyful and bittersweet day for all of us.
This coming Sunday will be my final Sunday with the Highland family.
It is an odd sensation to be sure. When we arrived almost three and a half years ago, we could not have foreseen all that would occur during these years. We did not know the wonders of joy and fellowship and love that were waiting in your open arms. Nor could we understand the ways that everything in our lives would change – as individuals and as a church family. We have seen this Sunday looming on the horizon for months now. But it is hard to believe that the time has truly come.
I want to save many of my “final words” for my sermon this weekend.
However, I also want to reflect for a moment upon the bigger picture.
Whatever we may all be feeling, remember that God is already ahead of us, leading us into the future. As the psalmist says, God has turned our mourning into dancing – for though everything may change, God stays the same. God’s faithfulness will never fail and God’s love surrounds us through every transformation (as joyous or as painful as it may be).
What is more, the world will still spin madly on. And, as we know all too well in this part of the world, the rain goes on, too. Life will continue. Though this may be an ending to one chapter, the book has yet to be finished. God’s hand is still gently leading us into all the pages that lay ahead.
So, I hope that all of you will come this weekend as we have one more chance to say farewell to one another before my family leaves for the north country. But I also hope you know that I take my leave trusting completely in the steadfast love of our God and all the wonders of life that are still in store for Highland. You are in good hands – and so I will give thanks to my God forever.