As has been announced, Pastor Leonard is completing his employment as the Co-Lead Pastor at the end of June. He will be sharing a few memories and reflections on our website during the next few weeks.
Last week I shared some thoughts about people. This week, it’s “Places.” But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a long list of the variety of upgrades and changes our church facility has undergone in the last 25 years (though, there is one room in the building where the carpet is still original – any guesses?). In my reflections I have been drawn to the many different places where I’ve been privileged to serve in my pastoral role.
The first place I want to mention is homes. I associate someone’s home with hospitality. As Paul writes in Romans 12:13
“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Thank you for opening up your homes to me. Thank you for joining us at my home. There is something important about developing relationships in a less formal setting than a public worship service. I think of the meals we’ve shared, the pictures we’ve looked at, the dreams/hopes/challenges/struggles we’ve discussed. I think of arranging events like “Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner.” I am so encouraged by stories of inviting “strangers (from King Road)” for a meal and a visit. If I have a dream for the future, it is that Christian hospitality will change our world. May King Road continue to practice this kind of radical hospitality. Welcome all as you would welcome your pastor. But don’t worry too much if the house isn’t perfectly clean…that’s okay!
The second place I think of is hospitals (and hospices). Some of my most holy moments have come as you’ve welcomed me to the bedside of a saint who is about to go and see Jesus. It truly is a privilege to be welcomed into your lives at a time of crisis. I know, I could focus on births and weddings and birthday parties and anniversaries – those are great too! But somehow the rawness and realness of praying together in the hospital or hospice is a memory I’ll cherish forever. Funerals and memorial services help remind us of our place in this world, and of the amazing cloud of faithful witness that have gone before. Maybe I’m just getting older, but I find myself reflecting with much more gratitude on the heritage that has been left for me, and my children, and…
And lastly, think about the place here. King Road has been present with me for many years, and I’m so grateful. Here is a vague word, I know. But here is where we are. I’ve been overseas on missions trips, I’ve swung hammers alongside of others on MDS trips, I’ve been on retreats, in meetings (I wonder how many meetings I’ve attended over the years as a pastor). But my goal is to remember to focus on the present. Let’s engage with each other, share our lives, be open and vulnerable, and dream (yes, let’s dream) but not so much that we forget to realize that we are here – right now, in this place, as the people of God called to worship and serve him together. To that end, here is Abbotsford. Let’s embrace this and love our neighbours as ourselves.
This week’s challenge to all of us is to spend time reflecting on what God is calling us to be and do right here…right here where God has placed us. I’m committing to reflect on this (I guess that’s a natural byproduct of a job transition). Will you reflect as well?
PS In last week’s post, I asked a few questions. By my count, I have served alongside of 16 pastors at King Road (3 of them interim): Frank, Al, Andrew, Harry, Don, Ben, Johannes, Aaron, George, Ernst, Heins, Janet, Elfriede, Adam, Herman, Edgar.