Goodbye, Farewell & Amen
These words were the title of the final episode of my favorite TV program of all time M*A*S*H. I remember watching that last episode with tears in my eyes as the cast of characters parted company. There was the real tension in the characters B.J. and Hawkeye. They realized that there was a very real chance that they would never see each other again. For these men who clung to one another to get through the hell of meatball surgery, the thought of never seeing one another was terrifying and devastating.
At the end of this month, by the actions of our Lord, you and I will have our same "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen." We have battled in the trenches for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have had many moments that have brought us great joy. There have been times when we have shed real tears. But most of you supported us through thick and thin. And the thought of leaving you causes me much grief. However, for me, the war for the sake of the Gospel is sending me to another theater of operation. I must go where I have been ordered by the Lord of The Church!
This leaves much uncertainty for what is to come. Here is where you need to rely on God's Word.
My friends, there is no call to worry. You need only be faithful. STUDY GOD'S WORD. Encourage, cajole and DEMAND that the leaders of the congregation do this with you. Make sure that you are in Gods house regularly. Humble yourself and kneel at the rail before your Lord Jesus so that He can give you what you need! One of the problems that Zion has had, even in my tenure is the problem that James highlights. You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. PRAY. Not in the hopeless way that I have heard some of you whine about the budget. NO, instead pray with confidence that the Lord will not only hear but answer your prayers.
There is a pastor out there for Zion. He may not be there next month, but he will come. And when he does, stop settling for mediocre! God and His people deserve so much more than just average! Be the best LUTHERAN school you can be. Be the most faithful LUTHERAN congregation you can be. Don't apologize for who God called you to be. Embrace that identity! It is one that Staunton needs!
So over the next few weeks, we will share some laughs. We will also shed some tears. But here is where you and I are different than B.J. and Hawkeye. We know that we will see each other again. There will be times when we will see each other here in this world. But if not, you and I know that on the other side of the Resurrection, there will be a reunion that is beyond our imagination! But the time for my departure is near. Let's spend the time on fun stuff. Like sharing the Gospel, studying God's word, receiving the Lord's Supper and just being the redeemed of God. If we do that, then WE WILL see each other again!
Goodbye, Farewell and AMEN!
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