Today, God’s timing collides with my thinking. Two very disconnected events in our church now intertwine. I must reconcile my understanding of God’s guidance and share these thoughts with our church.
The Two Events
1. The upcoming ‘Candidate experience.’
2. The passing of Merle Schmidt.
Our Search Committee has wrapped up a year’s work and has brought forth a highly skilled young pastor, and family! This is a time of faith affirming, direction seeking life at FBC. I am more than a little excited! Who we are 20 years from now will be defined by our vote and plans.
The passing of Merle Schmidt is bittersweet. A full life of service is complete. We enjoy the church we call FBC Olathe, in part because of the fruits of Merle and Dee. The passing of these two saints within such a short time is stunning. The reality of what they have meant to the members, and the community, serve as a model for us all.
Merle represents what got us here. The visit of Rev. Reed Webster is a clear symbol of what we will do and be next. Here are 4 observations…
Observation #1 - The truth that God is good. We do have grace unfolding in us. The grace that never changes. The life of Christ is always the same. A church that was founded in the late 1800s, and the church we build that will take us to the year 2030 are built on the ‘Rock of Christ.’ The same truth, same promise.
Observation #2 - Merle and Reed are linked. Both are charged, just like you and I, both are called through love to a world that is tainted. There are tears and trials. Good memories and moments of letting go. A move from Portland to Kansas is no small change. The loss of Merle (and Dee) remind me that our church is changing.
Observation #3 - Every action is a sacred act. The goodbye of Merle’s funeral and welcome home new pastor are eerily similar. Both will occur about the same time, in a service of worship and respect. We bring every thought captive. We cling tight to what we had, and we reach boldly to what can be.
Observation #4 – Time. We cannot be the church we once were, and we are not yet the church we might be. We are in a time like that time discussed cross the pages of our Bible. We are in a time when the remnant and faithful stand, as the prophet, priest and leader step up.
We should and must reflect on the loss to our church. We (I) bear the responsibility for the church’s future. And we (I )must do them at the same time. But that is what our Lord did… He loved when the world was denying Him. He gave when no one else could.
In other words, we (I) matter. We (I) thank God.
We (I) thank God for the people who got us here; for the people who have held us together through COVID; and for the people who will take us forward.
We (I) need to see Christ in this time. This is an eternal moment. The Schmidt family has run the good race, the promise of Christ alive is fulfilled. FBC Church (and possibly the Webster family, assuming a positive vote) will enter the race, with entry fees paid.
We (I) will run that race knowing that all good things come from God.
I pray God’ blessing on two worship service in this time. The celebration of a life lived right, the life of Merle Schmidt and the celebration of the calling of a new pastor, Pastor Reed Webster. My ability and full capacity to do both comes from the Lord, Jesus Christ.