From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 6th Sunday of Easter

Hi everyone,

So saying goodbye is hard. I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s probably pretty safe to say that we’ve all lost someone in some form or another. Maybe it was a break up, or a close friend moved away, or… of course… a loved one died.

Yesterday I said goodbye to a mentor of sorts. Pastor Ken Harris was someone I’ve looked up to for years, both figuratively and literally (dude was really tall). He had this amazing presence and a booming deep voice. And I had the great honour to work with him for 6 months during my internship.

Although Pastor Ken wasn’t my internship supervisor in an official capacity, but I did learn from him and was able to see firsthand his way of ministry, his way of walking with people, his way of proclaiming the good news. I feel blessed to have known him, to have worked with him, and to have learned from him when I had that chance. He will be missed.

Peace be to Pastor Ken’s family and community as we all cope with the loss of a beautiful soul.

Here are the readings for next week:

Acts 16:9-15
Psalm 67
Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5
John 14:23-29

Jesus is right into what we call the Farewell Discourse, where he gets his disciples ready for his departure from them. Essentially, he is saying goodbye and it looks like he, like we all do, is having a hard time with it. I would imagine the disciples were a bit in denial in thinking that they don’t want Jesus to leave, they don’t want to say goodbye to their teacher and mentor, they don’t want things to change. I totally feel them there. Change is hard.

But Jesus assures them that his leaving is actually a good thing. I know they probably didn’t see it at the time, but it was. For in Jesus’ physical absence came the Spirit that helped to guide the disciples (and us) through everything that they (and we) learned from Jesus. All the love, the community, and the grace displayed by Jesus can now be displayed by them (and us) with the help of this Spirit, that strengthens us, empowers us, and ultimately changes us for the better.

I know, we might think that all of that can happen with Jesus here, and essentially, Jesus still is. Through the Spirit, Jesus is present with us as we remember all that we have been taught and shown. In the same way, Pastor Ken is still with us who have known and loved him. All those we’ve loved and lost are with us. All the saints of all times and places are present in our lives through the Spirit given to us by God.

This Spirit prods us and nudges us in the correct directions and gives us confidence to make good decisions. As we read Paul and crew led by the Spirit to meet Lydia, a most amazing woman, so we are led by the Spirit with the example of those before us and Jesus himself, to have encounters and connections and “God moments” in which we are reminded of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

Yes, goodbyes are hard. But I give thanks to God for those whom I’ve known and loved and lost, for I got to know and love them and learn from them through the gift of this Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

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