The Methodist Church in Beeville is experiencing it firsthand as the last month of Rev. Larry McRorey and his wife, Cathy, is taking place, and they are making the transition to his new appointment in Bandera. I know the feelings they are going through, and I have also experienced it from the opposite side of the altar rail. I know the feelings of a new pastor coming into my life. Retirement meant I became a pew sitter except for occasions when I was doing pulpit supply for other churches.
Knowing the reeling feelings of the congregation, I can understand Jesus’ farewell discourse and the words uttered, “I will not leave you orphaned.” Something different is coming; something new will be happening; “sadness will last for the night, but joy will come in the morning” as Psalm 30 reminds us. The feelings of anger, hurt and pain are a part of the gospel story for us this week. For the disciples the different, new thing, joy felt moment would be when the Holy Spirit will come.
For saddened church members, the expectation is that a pastor will come who may give us a different approach to “ministry” or he may just say, “Congregation keep doing what you have been doing so well.” This Methodist congregation may not be the only church experiencing a leadership change this summer as pastors consider retirement, or new calls are offered.
We worship a God, not the pastor of our church, who loves us in Jesus and seeks our trust in his abiding presence with the promise of the Holy Spirit. This promise is given to us because we will face many life experiences that leave us feeling abandoned or orphaned. A strong home church may be necessary as we run through those crisis experiences.
Military personnel face these crises with each deployment; oil field workers spend many days away from family and live in the campgrounds and motels of our community experiencing undue hardship and separation; and law enforcement personnel risk life to “serve and protect” on a 24/7 basis. These are hard times with our economy. We experience loneliness and isolation each day and try to fill this longing for home and belonging. In these times Jesus promises us and encourages us with the words, “I will not leave you orphaned.” I love the God of this Jesus who stands by me.
The Advocate is coming that will help us to see and understand the truth we are missing because of our tears. Going back to the Methodist system there is a similar encouragement. Before one pastor leaves they know who will be coming. They, too, are not left orphaned. Many of our other denominations may face a year or more before the next pastoral leader comes.
The Spirit of Truth is coming, but in the meantime Jesus asks something of us, something to carry us over, and something to keep His disciples busy. Tied to the departure of Jesus on the day of His ascension is a charge (like the final moments of Presbyterian worship) and a commission benediction that we “are to make disciples of all nations.”
Any church, organization, business or individual wishing to contribute to Habitat for Humanity is encouraged to make their checks payable to Bee County Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 4333, Beeville, TX 78104, instead of the international charitable organization.
The local affiliate has acquired property in east-central Beeville and is getting closer to hosting its first home build here.