I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all His people.”
Psalm 116:12-14 (NLT)
Thank you for my sabbatical.
It was everything that I needed. Each day, God was so gracious and faithful to lay before me ‘things to do’ and ‘ways to be’ that brought rest, relational connection, and renewed vigor. He knew! (no surprise) and He faithfully provided. As the psalmist says, “What can I offer in response to all that… besides thanksgiving, praise, and a promise to keep my promises?” And so I will.
As you can see in the pictures, a highlight of the sabbatical was a couple weeks on the western coast of Ireland in County Kerry. We hiked and walked and read and slept and experienced reminders of grace in the intense colors of rainbows that felt close enough to touch.
I also used the time to finish my first year of course work for the Doctor of Ministry degree that I am pursuing at Gordon-Conwell. It felt luxurious to have spacious time to write and read… and finish! Now, on to year 2!
As I return to daily life with all of you, I feel the transition in at least two ways:
- At one level, I am returning with stories of ‘how I spent my summer’ just like all of you. I look forward to hearing yours as we linger on the terrace after a Sunday service or grab coffee in the weeks to come.
- At another level, I am starting this fall with renewed vision and excitement to serve as the rector of our parish. There is nothing else on the horizon. Last year at this time, I was wondering if God would call me to be a bishop. When He chose to not do that, I wondered how I would use my sabbatical in this, my 14th year of ministry at Restoration. Now that I have received and enjoyed my sabbatical gift, I am walking in abundant faith, hope, and love, towards the opportunities that God is preparing for Restoration to be salt and light in our communities. I am so glad to be back amongst you in our day by day lives.
This Sunday I will bring us back to Paul’s letter to the Romans. I am thankful for a wonderful summer of preaching on the life of Abraham from our gifted clergy and friends at Restoration. I loved listening to the podcast- hearing your voices reading the Scriptures, hearing our children praying the psalms. If you missed Dr. Tremper Longman’s sermon from last Sunday, make sure you give it a listen this week. He does a marvelous job summarizing the Abraham story and calling us to a life of faith. I listened on my walk this morning and loved it.
Abraham did a lot of things wrong, but he did at least one thing right- He believed God. That choice made all the difference. I look forward to exploring that with you this weekend.
See y’all soon. I missed you!