The past two days have been intense. We had a great time at a reception Sunday afternoon. It was total Rock: white, African, Hispanic, young and old. You can't imagine how blessed I am to be able to have been the pastor here! It's hard to know what to say to people in those moments. We are here one more week, but so many loose ends and packing up means you don't really get to see anyone. And how do you say goodbye after all this time? How do you hope it is not really good bye, that you will stay in touch and see each other whenever you come to Lexington.
I had great freedom in preaching. But it was Pentecost, so what can you expect? And just because there is a day called Pentecost, don't quit talking about the work of the Holy Spirit when that day is passed! The amazing thing about the eternality of God: Jesus is always born, suffering, crucified, dead, buried, resurrected, ascended, coming to reign! And the Holy Spirit is continually coming down and pouring out!
Tonight at church was a very bittersweet moment. Maybe mostly bitter? The last Monday Night Service I will be a part of. What Monday Night became was something of a dream. The chance to serve the poor in Lexington is pretty good! Even better to bring the message of Jesus' love and salvation. And then to think that in just about every way that we could, we did turn over the ministry to them, the cooking, the worship music, volunteering in the clothing and food bank, it just freaks me out that what seems like "preacher talk" can become reality. We went from doing ministry TO and FOR them to doing ministry WITH, and finally FROM, so that the group became an "us."
Something I am chewing on right now is how hard it is to do ministry among the poor. It's not so much that there are challenges of context and culture. It's not even that the desperate lives you minister with are heartbreaking. Finally, there is a lot of apathy from the not-poor, and worse than that, a church easily gets bogged down in a series of issues that rarely have anything to do with actual ministry. You end up having a full time job and then you do evangelism and mercy ministries on the side.
It's amazing, in 5 years of working around various Monday Night incarnations, there have been a lot of people come and go in our lives. I think I counted it up at something like 450 people. We'd have a huge church if the population were stable! But then, we would not have the ministry we have...
I preached on the 23rd Psalm, "thou anointest my head with oil..." and we had a time of anointing with oil and healing prayer.
I am going to miss all these folks at The Rock! For better and worse, they know me, and I know them! To God be the Glory!