Jon & Sam Moving on..
It’s good for us to consider the range of feelings on a day like today…
1, Sadness because we will miss good friends and supporters. Wonderfully we will see them again…Jon and Sam will be back to visit, to preach and share stories and from March 8th…there will be a new church meeting in Midhurst and since they are meeting at 4pm, you can worship here and there…double blessing. And there will be parties and celebrations and meals when we will get to catch up and have fun again. But there is a still a sadness that we won’t see them nearly as much as we have enjoyed doing.
2, Nervousness about the skills and serving gaps to fill. There are so many things that Jon and Sam have led or been significantly involved in. On top of the public stuff, there is even more below the surface…the less obvious stuff…the pastoral visits, the encouragements, the strategy and planning. Now so many people have already risen to the challenge of that need…but there is still a right kind of nervousness…we should be missed if we aren’t around anymore so that’s a natural feeling when anyone leaves.
3, Celebration of all that God has done in the past season, remembering the lives impacted and ministries born and grown over the past 13 years. One day, when all efforts are finally over exhausted we will spend eternity celebrating not just God but also all the good things we saw in our life…but even in the midst of that kingdom activity we can grab moments of celebration... so at moments like this you have celebration.
4, Excitement about the new things that God has for Jon and Sam. Later we will get to look but as we do that, we will also get to look ahead to the next chapter that God is writing. Our lives are like a great story that God is writing and today is like when you turn a page and notice the text runs out halfway down the page and on the other side there is a new number and more written. Today is like that turning of a page and seeing the start of a new chapter with new adventures. And because we have a loving God – a perfect heavenly Father when he writes our lives how can we not wake up excited every day…and especially on days like today.
5, But the greatest feeling above all these should always be Thankfulness…real, heart-felt gratitude. To Jon and Sam for their love and support and service to each of us…and to us as a church over the past 13 years …so many of us would be years behind ourselves were it not for their support, their love, their challenge sometimes, their honesty both about their own shortcomings and our own. Thank them for their creativity…some of that has been musical, some decorative, some evangelistic…the ideas that they have sought, pursued and made into realities.
So today is rightly a time of thankfulness to them. But even above that and this is reaching high by the way.
And Thankfulness to God. James 1:17 tells us that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. On a day like today, gratitude to God is appropriate because as we celebrate a good thing – we acknowledge that God is the giver of all good things. We give thanks to God for giving us each other, for bringing us together, for the daily grace and forgiveness that kept us together, for the love that God places in us that we might then offer to others. And we give thanks to God for the community He has given us through Jesus.
Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for what he has done in us. We thank God for brothers who live by His call, by His forgiveness and by His promise. Dietrich Boenhoeffer (Life Together)
Our greatest feeling on a day like today is Thankfulness to the One for which we are most thankful for… Jesus Christ – because He laid the only true foundation of our fellowship that we are celebrating and honouring today. He is the One who reconciled us to God and to each other. He is the One who spoke to Jon and Sam to bring them here to Billingshurst. He is the One who offered us His forgiveness so that we could forgive each other. He is the One who inspired us to serve, worship and do mission together. He is the enabling and the inspiration for all that we are celebrating and remembering today. So today, we come to God as thankful recipients. So amongst all the emotions and feelings today - what is the greatest feeling we should have on a day like today…gratitude to God for Jesus Christ. Because the real connection that we have with Jon and Sam is not the Billishows we did together or trips abroad, or the meals and parties or the tough lessons we learnt together.
The real connection we have with Jon and Sam is Jesus Christ. And wonderfully that connection is eternal – it will be as strong a million years from now as it is right now.
A message from Jon & Sam:
Dear unified Church body parts,
What a wonderful day you gave us yesterday! It all seemed a bit surreal and
not at all deserved!
We can't really believe that we won't be seeing you all every week from now
on but you can't wriggle out of our hearts so you you might as well get
comfy in there and put your feet up. We will continue to pray for you,
provided you purchase the appropriate indulgences, & think of you often.
please visit when you can particularly when we start meeting on sundays at
4pm from march 8th.
Thank-you for all your encouraging comments, particularly those about
encouragement which I found most encouraging & for your gifts, both
personal and from the church. We were stunned by your generosity.
Sam & Jon
Chris Doney, 18/01/2015