When Thyra, Hannah and I came to Rolling Hills some sixteen years ago we were a little bit late. I had preached the last Sunday of June in our former congregation, and then we began our two car, five person, three driver, one dog cross-country journey. We had two dear friends come along to share the driving, but one of them got an ear infection on the trip and was out of commission. We crossed the bridge over to Michigan and spent the first night in Madison, Wisconsin (home of one of the loveliest state capitals there is). We passed through Minnesota and South Dakota on the way to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.
From there we headed south, driving along the Sevier River and into the lovely town of Panguitch, Utah. It was the 4th of July, and as we came over the hill and into town the local fireworks show was in full glory. We felt like they were doing it all for our benefit! We visited Bryce and Grand Canyon National Parks, and then made our way across the last stretch of desert. I know that we complain a lot about southern California traffic, but when we hit the 91 I knew I was almost home. I didn’t mind.
Most of the time we don’t really know where we are headed. We have our hopes, plans and intentions. We are not passively waiting for others to decide our future. But whatever it is that our minds and hearts have pictured as the future, what is waiting for us is always richer, deeper, fuller, more mysterious and wonderful than anything we could have planned (more frustrating, too, at times!).
We knew the roads we were going to take. We’d covered many of those miles before. We knew the address to which we were headed. We even knew some of the people who were already here. But we had no idea where we were going – not really. Some of you helped welcome us into the life of this church family way back then. Some of you have come along since. And God has found a way to bring us all together into something we could never have expected.
Beginning together this new year, and looking forward to new discoveries, new relationships, I want to say again how grateful I am for the privilege of serving with you.
Grace and peace,