Recently I received word that Gethsemane’s oldest member, Pauline Meinecke at age 104, had passed away in Mesa, Arizona. After her 90th and 95th birthdays, Pauline had distributed her “Top Ten” List to her family and friends. Her “Top Ten” included sayings such as: Think of the past, but LIVE for the future. It’s not how FULL your cup is—it’s the CONTENTS that matter. If any fences are in need of mending—go to it!
Rereading Pauline’s “Top Ten” challenged me to think about my own after 14 years at
Gethsemane. So far, I’m only up to four, but here they are:
1. It’s not about me/us! It’s about God! It’s not about our personal preferences, our likes and
dislikes, it’s about God’s mission to love, bless, and redeem the world. As Gethsemane moves into a transition time, remember that the “Taking Our Pulse” gatherings lifted up a need to
reconsider mission and vision to state with clarity what God is calling/leading us to be and do in this place and time.
2. It’s about relationships! Relationships with one another, relationships with our mission
partners, relationships with our neighbors, relationship with God. And relationships call on us to do the hard and joyful work of “one anothering.” Love one another. Be kind and compassionate with one another. Be devoted to one another. Forgive one another. Encourage one another. Yes, and even provoke one another (to love and good deeds!).
3. It’s not either/or – but BOTH/AND. It’s not either caring for our own OR reaching out to our neighbors near and far, it’s not fellowship OR social action, it’s not traditional OR contemporary worship, it’s not mission support OR keeping up the building – it’s seeking to be faithful to God’s mission with ALL that we have and are.
4. Finally, God is not afraid of new things! In fact, I would dare to say that God even blesses
risk-takers for the gospel. Yes, I am sad to be leaving as pastor at Gethsemane. I cannot think of any other place I would have wanted to be for these years of ministry at this time in my life. But I am also excited for a new chapter both for myself and for Gethsemane! God has planted this Garden of Gethsemane on the corner of Hampton and Pernod for a reason, and for a time such as this! How exciting to see what God has in mind, to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church!
You will remain in my heart and prayers with love.