Shortly after my Epiphany (January 6) post I learned that I would be moving from my home of 27 years (Syracuse) to a new home in the Buffalo area (Amherst/Snyder) on July 1, 2011. In the church administrative system called the "United Methodist Church" I serve "under appointment" that is to say ultimately at the discretion of my spiritual leader, a bishop. Though I did not seek this move I felt strongly that it was where the Holy Spirit was leading me and so, from first of February (when the change was announced) to the 8th of July when I finally moved, I worked at being in transition.
Transition is difficult. I was Senior Pastor of the same church for 23 years. It is hard to leave someplace where you have married, buried, baptized, confirmed and walked through some significant family, spiritual or other crisis with every family in the congregation. I chose to walk slowly through the "good bye's" and to enjoy a long series of "last suppers" with the friends who were family. I felt like I said my good and thorough fare wells (I also gained nearly 20 pounds doing it -- lot of cakes, dinners, special treats).
Here in Amherst where I am now blessed to be serving the Christ United Methodist Church. We are just beginning to get to know each other. I am learning my way around, making new friends, dreaming some big dreams and imagining the possibilities of what God has in store for us here.
The transition is far from over. I'm the "new guy" in an existing place. My wife is still commuting back to Syracuse for her work, we haven't sold our house in Liverpool, New York (HEY LOOKING FOR A REALLY NICE HOME WITH LOTS OF CHARACTER?) and that general feet in multiple places angst that happens in this kind of experience.
But, having said all of that, isn't all of life transition? Permanence is an illusion we cling to because it is familiar and because it is comfortable. Living life as a Christ follower is like raising children. Someone once told me that the goal of raising children is so they will have roots and wings. I like that. My faith in Christ roots me in an eternal, loving and unchanging God. My faith in Christ also sets me free to fly, to try, to become all that God intends.