Departures and Arrivals

When people “sign off” from radio communications, they’ve customarily said: “Over-and-out!” My day of departure is soon approaching when this will be my final sign-off cue. Unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line, “I’LL BE BACK,” my sign-off will be for real.

Dealing with our “Departures and Arrivals” (leavings and new cleavings) is profoundly important. The Bible tells us, “He sets aside the first to establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9 NIV). There have been many arrivals and departures in our OHFUMC Family. Our story once more needs to be updated.

In four weeks, God is setting aside number 29 (that’s me) to establish number 30 (that’s Linda)! This is how God has always operated. There’s nothing new here.
Moses was removed so Joshua could take over
Elijah was removed so Elisha could take over
John the Baptist was removed so Jesus could take over
Jesus was removed so the Holy Spirit could take over
Whenever God trades out, he always trades up! Things are looking good for you, OHFUMC. Sometimes, at memorial services, I have mentioned some lyrics to the hymn O Sacred Head – words attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux – words that now help me today to describe my dilemma.
“What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friends?”
This church family has been a divine appointment for my life. Of all the places I could have been, God wanted me (and Cara) to have the blessing of sharing life with you. To me, the journey of ministry in every place we have lived has been one that says, I have been PRIVILEGED, BLESSED, FAVORED, and ENRICHED. But there comes a time when we must learn to let go so that we can move forward in life. There are important lessons to be learned from Elijah and Elisha to help us with partings. Please be sure and read 2 Kings 2:1-18.

I want to make three simple and yet profound observations with you related to this story, and the dynamics of saying goodbye. Hopefully, there will be no new insight but only seasoned wisdom of practices and actions we know to be true.
1. Separation (for some, not all) is distressing and causes grief!
“The Lord is going to take your master from you today” (vv. 3, 5)

2. There is a heaven-ordained transfer of power and authority!  
“The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on [transferred to] Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him” (2 Kings 2:15 NIV). 

3. Pastors and Parishioners must embrace and live out the “Stay Here” message. 
“Stay here” (vv. 1, 4, 6).   “Didn’t I tell you not to go” (vs. 18)
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the song “For Good” from the Broadway musical called “Wicked.” I was spellbound in my seat and captivated by the incredible lyrics. If you and I were to have a conversation through a song that summarized our eight-year journey; if your voice and my voice were heard reflecting out loud on the mystery and magnificence, on the joy and pain, on the deep contentment and sad disappointment we’ve experienced over the years, maybe this is what we would share, and say to one another:
Lyrics: “For Good”
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:
 
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
Giving thanks to God for our Journey!

David 😊

1 Comment


David G. Lura - May 30th, 2024 at 9:05pm

DP,

n

nYou never fail to impress me with your humble and yet magnanimous way of articulating these transitional messages. If you are not currently sharing them with Pastor Tucker. . . I would find a way to forward them to her. You are a master of linguistic and scriptural prose. I have another [short/bone builder] infusion and regret missing Navy League next Tuesday as you say Farewell and Following Seas there as well. I have appreciated your tenure as "Chaps" and prayers there as well. Blessings! Bro dgl

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