Sabbatical Salutations

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Sabbatical Salutations from Pastor Keyl

June 27, 2017

 

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

 

The writer of this exclamation was grateful for the generosity of the congregation in enabling ministry, even without the presence of the apostle.

 

I feel that same way about Bethesda in its summer ministry, as I lurk on the enews and Facebook pages, seeing love shared, generosity encouraged, and leadership welcomed.  I thank God for Bethesda even as I’m not there, taking a sabbath from active ministry for the summer.

 

The story is told about a small group Bible study where the gospel reading was about the woman anointing Jesus lavishly with oil.  The the question was asked “if you could do one thing, what gift would you give to Jesus?”  And the response, after some pondering, was “time.”  In our days so much demands our time, our full calendars, our to-do lists, our work, our keeping up with the Joneses.

 

I am extremely grateful for the gift of time on sabbatical.  I am thinking differently.  My rhythms are freed up as time is allowed to flow differently.  I have spent time exploring Northern Spain and its history and beauty, while reconnecting with Gabriel and their spouse Manu, and meeting Manu’s family.

 

The next leg of my sabbatical is a longer arc of travel, four weeks in and around Jerusalem, thanks to a synod grant, to deepen relationships with our companion synod.  I will be preaching at the English-speaking congregation in the Old City.  I will be meeting informally with colleagues, and taking time to prepare for the trips that I lead.  Time will be different there for me, as the itinerary will be lighter than usual so that I can notice my own breathing and delve more intentionally into conversation and experiences of life there in the midst of conflict.  I will certainly bring back stories.

 

I offer you all God’s blessing in your summer rhythms.  I thank Bethesda’s leaders and staff, and especially Parish Assistant Paul Strike and Pastor Angelika Zollfrank for their presence and proclamation in worship.

 

I’ll see you in August, in good time.

Pastor Tim Keyl