[L., meanwhile < inter: see INTER-] the period of time between; meanwhile - adj. for or during an interim; temporary; provisional.
Living in the period of time between is challenging. We live in a world where we focus on getting to our destination as fast as we can. We want fewer delays at airports, better roads, faster food, and instant information. And so it is, that you may well be wanting to get another pastor called to Lutheran Church of the Resurrection as soon as possible. Yet, there is a richness to the experiences of the period of time between if we are able to trust that God is with us throughout the journey - and not just some end point companion. Consider some examples of journeys through the period of time between.
God's people left the harsh life of slavery in Egypt for the Promised Land. The journey was not a quick one, but tookforty years. During the period of time between the two places, God provided an interim leader named Moses. God's people learned anew what it meant to be God's people - to trust in God to provide manna from heaven and water in the wilderness. They received the Torah - the Law - as a gift to guide them in their relationships with God and one another. They reached the Promised Land ready to move forward to the challenges ahead.
Jane and Michael Banks needed someone to take care of them and the Banks family needed to re-center themselves in what it means to be a family. Enter Mary Poppins, Interim Nanny. She helped them to play with imagination, such as riding horses through the countryside of a sidewalk drawing. She made the children take on responsibilities and chores like cleaning the nursery. The Banks family struggled with issues of money and employment while finding laughter and joy in each other's presence. When the family was ready to move forward, the winds shifted and Mary Poppins departed.
Throughout the New Testament many marvelous things happen on the way to get somewhere else. In the midst of a crowd a woman reaches out in faith to touch the hem of Jesus' garment while he is on his way to heal another. A blind man received sight, calling out to the Son of David for mercy while he passed by. While resting at a well in the midst of a journey through foreign land Jesus kindled the faith of a woman who was separated from others. On the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus followers of Jesus felt their hearts burn within them as the unrecognized risen Lord revealed to them the Scriptures.
At LCR we are in the period of time between pastors who you have called to serve our Lord in this place. I am serving as your pastor at this time, which would make me your Interim Pastor. This role, like a regularly called pastor, includes administering the sacraments, leading worship and preaching, providing special services (funerals and weddings), teaching, visiting, and being a resource to committees and organizations of the congregation. An Interim Pastor, however, has additional tasks to address in partnership with the congregational leadership: coming to terms with and celebrating the congregation's history, examining leadership and organizational needs, preparing for new leadership, developing a sense of identity for the congregation grounded in a vision for mission and ministry as God's people in this place and time.
While there is a certain degree of uncertainty, which is inherent during the period of time between, it is also a great opportunity to grow together as God's people. It is my hope that during this time we will rely on God's continuing grace to guide, heal, and feed us. And, when the wind of the Holy Spirit blows in a new direction and calls a pastor through you, I will leave knowing that the same grace of God remains with you. With that in mind, I share with you this prayer from the ELW Vespers service:
you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I look forward to journeying with you during this period of time between.
Your's in Christ,
Pastor Jeff Ziegler - Contact Information:email@example.com