We have nodded to my 25th anniversary as pastor of Riverside Baptist Church this month –provided a collection of sermons, Safe Harbor– and now we conclude with a luncheon after a Sunday morning worship of “testifying.” This past week has been an appropriate reflection of my 25 years. Here is some of what I did.
I visited and counseled with the sick and the despairing; I kept vigil beside the former First Lady of Fifth Baptist Church, Rosalie Harrison, praying with her, reading psalms, and then commending her to God on Tuesday evening, February 21st. She had told me many years ago that she wanted to live to 100 years old. I visited her in January to wish her a happy 100th and then, one month later, she left this mortal world with its tears and suffering. Her graveside service is Thursday the 2nd of March at Fort Lincoln Cemetery. I spent my day Friday visiting the funeral home and the cemetery to make her arrangements and in between those visits, received word that Lauren was on the way to the hospital to give birth. I received news last week that Wyatt was released from Children’s Hospital where he had undergone a significant surgery. I sat on a bench on a beautiful Spring day of 74 degrees in February with the President of SWNA, a delightful and gifted gentleman who wanted to get to know me and our church better. Spoke with Ian over at Blind Whino about the possibility of an art show and an alternative worship experience once a month. Saw several of our development team walking our property, hardhats and goggles on as I drove by, headed for an appointment. I taught a class at Howard Divinity and worked to arrange for as student to serve on a panel discussion of an up and coming play on March 4th at Temple Micah, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, devoted to the issue of prevention of handgun violence.
Plans, prayers, tears and laughter–my 25 years crystallized in one intense week. From joy to sorrow and back again, the pastorate at Riverside has been a novel and a sacred journey. I’d like to conclude this month’s celebration of this anniversary with the Apostle Paul’s benediction in Romans: For from God and through God and to God are all things. To God be the glory forever. Amen. ~ See you Sunday