December 27, 2020

December 27 – What can you imagine? Bruce’s last service with us….

Passage: Galatians 4:4-7 and Luke 2:22-40

December 27 - Bruce's last service with us....

What can you imagine?

Just a short time ago, you heard a new song from me that I entitled: What can you imagine? In the midst of a time when the world really doesn’t seem to be making any sense, we can take great comfort in remembering that God is still there and that our God still wants to speak to us and to guide us.

I have often spoken about the significance and the importance of listening for the voice of God. When we allow ourselves to be open to God’s voice, we can find the direction we need for our life. But it can be difficult to allow ourselves to be open to that voice. Too often we prefer to listen for the voice that matches up with our own pre-determined decision or direction for our life. Now I can’t say that I have always followed God’s voice, but I do know that when I have ignored it or actively chosen a different path it has not turned out well.

It can be difficult to understand why our paths merge in this life and even more difficult to understand why those paths must part. We have spent the better part of 8 years building community with one another, learning to trust one another and to work together. It has been a time of restoring hope and finding peace. It has been a time of exploring our faith in new and different ways and being challenged in our personal faith and community life. We have had some ups and some downs along the way, and we have had our challenges; but our determination to listen to one another and to respect one another has enabled us to stay together through it all.

Considering all you went through to get me here I really couldn’t put my finger on why you decided to still call me. After all, I really didn’t have a plan for what I would do to change you. Instead I wanted to be supportive of your ideas and vision. I wanted to be part of helping you achieve the goals you saw for yourselves and allow you to renew your strength and your energy. When challenges arose, I did my best to lend whatever wisdom I could but wanted you to be the ones to make it happen.

For me, the best moments in my time here have been when we have been working together side by side to make things happen. I have appreciated the opportunities that I have had to work with you, laugh with you and even at times cry with you. And all of you have done your best to ensure that I would never go away from anything hungry! I fasted a bit just to be prepared for today.

Sometimes I am sure that people believe that the minister never really understands what it feels like to say goodbye to someone they have come to trust and to rely on. Well, I do understand. When I was back in Edmonton and not leading a church, I was part of a choir with a great leader whom I deeply respected and loved. One day there was a rumour that one of the leaders was leaving. I was so upset thinking that it was this person. What would the choir be like after he was gone? Well, it turned out that it was the organist leaving. Eventually that leader did leave but it was his illness that took him away. I felt fortunate that I was able to be of assistance to him and his wife as they finished renovations on their home and then helped them to get ready for the move to a new place. I still miss him to this day but more than that, I am grateful for the time I did have with him.

Life is ever changing, and we cannot stop that, but we can hold onto the moments of life that bring us the most joy by remembering those who have shared our journey and celebrating those moments through our pictures and our stories. We have created memories with each other, and you will create new ones in the future. I look forward to hearing the news that you have found a new person with whom to take the next step of your journey. I know that whoever it may be, it will be someone who will be chosen through prayer and careful consideration and that you will build good memories.

I have never had the luxury of long messages while I have been with you and that has probably been a blessing to most of you. And so I will not carry on any longer except to say thank you for making these last years enjoyable and memorable.

I want to close with the singing of What can you Imagine?