When I recently came down with a bout of shingles, I felt I could shake it easily enough. Boy, was I wrong. Not only was this pretty crippling, but it was followed by a lingering bout of bells palsy that has left me unable to move the right side of my face. No such thing as “shaking this easily enough”!
All of this was complicated by the timing. Right as the Fourth Sunday of Advent approached and Christmas Eve itself. It quickly became apparent (after a very rocky attempt at the liturgy on December 22) that I would not be able to successfully lead the Christmas Eve service. I was heartbroken by this on so many levels.
What happened next was nothing short of an actual, for real, Christmas Miracle. Once word got out about Christmas Eve, everyone who knew eagerly stepped up to help. Some offered music, others a scripture reading, others the children’s sermon, and still others the candle lighting and benediction. All with the assurance to me not to worry–that it would all be fine. It was truly marvelous and I can’t tell you how much it put my mind at ease. To say I was humbled would be a grand understatement.
The depth of love at First Congregational Church is real, dynamic, and palpable. It springs from a desire to build true Christian Community (yes, with a capital “c”!) founded on the love and abiding presence of Christ. It is such an absolute honor to be a part of this congregation as its pastor.
My health will linger into the coming weeks but they are temporary. What is not temporary is my love for you all and the bond we share. Thank you for your faithful witness.
See you in church,