Thursday, January 13, 2005

Saying Goodbye--PD's Sermon for Sunday

I Corinthians 1:1-9 January 16, 2004

Well, so we have a greeting as the text for my last sermon. Typical.

But appropriate, too: my departure, with any luck, will signal the arrival of your new pastor in the near future. I hope that when you meet her on the 5th and 6th of February, everything will go well, she'll turn out to be just as sweet as sweet can be, she'll be a match, and everything will work out just dandy.

If it doesn't, don't call me, because I'm outta here. I gotta go on to the next place. Like Paul, I have a calling to be faithful to, by the will of God, as does your new pastor. We're called, and we go.

And like Paul, I wish you grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

For you, too, are sanctified in Christ Jesus, meaning you are set aside for his purposes. And you, too, are called to be saints, which means not quasi-angels, but leaders in the faith. For that purpose, you were brought together to be the church of God, the people of God, and how I could not wish every good for you?

Indeed, like Paul, I give thanks to God for you. Now, let's be honest here: our time together hasn't always been easy. We've had our ups and downs. But who ever said that you should be grateful to God for only the things you enjoy all the time? No, I give thanks to God for you "because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus." In you God does good things, and it is only proper to give God thanks for them.

Oh? Did you want examples? Well, the choir sings, and the ladies bake pies, and we go down to help at PAL, and you contribute $500 to tsunami relief, and you do the FISH program, and you take care of one another, and...Again, how could you not be grateful for all that?

Just remember: "in every way you have been enriched in [Christ Jesus,] in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you."

Paul's reminding the Corinthians here that spiritual gifts are, well, gifts after all. So: don't let it go to your head when I compliment you. What I'm really saying is that God has given you, out of free and abundant grace, all the things that you need to be good representatives of God. It is for those gifts that I am grateful—I am grateful that God has given them to you—not that they make you such good people, though they do. But it's not about you, and it's not about me; it's about what God is doing in the world through Christ.

By that standard, all the good times and all the bad times and all the in-between times we shared together pales a bit. Not that those times didn't mean anything, or weren't important, but that they're not the real story. You and I take part in a much larger story, I think you know that.

And I think you know that that story continues. We've shared a chapter in it, and now it's time for the next chapter. As you move into your next chapter, and I into mine, remember that God will make sure that you "are not lacking in any spiritual gift," and

he will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day
of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the
fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

By him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Remember that, and the rest is cake.

Farewell, then, and thank you for our time together. I wish you all the best, all God's gifts; I will continue to pray for you and for your congregation that God might continue to strengthen and enrich you, and I ask that you would do the same for Jennifer and me. Amen.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Hope things go well for you wherever you end up, Dan.


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