Monday, April 6th

Greetings,

I didn’t write a devotion for today.  I’m realizing that this will be a very mixed week for me and for a lot of other people.  Easter Sunday will be my last Sunday in the pulpit of the congregation that has consumed my thoughts, heart and life for the past 15 years.  Given that many of you have been reading the daily devotions for a long time, and you have heard much about my personal life in them, I feel free to tell you that the grief I am feeling has become an ever heavier weight.

I’ve known for some time that my ministry at Covenant would one day end.  But I never imagined what that ending would be like.  There are moments when I’m able to see the good that has been done here, the hand of God blessing us and helping us through, faith that has grown and people who have been well served – but those moments are too often drowned out by my awareness of mistakes I’ve made, time I’ve wasted, leadership needs I wasn’t able to provide, opportunities that were squandered and relationships that were wounded or broken.  Leaving is like a little death, there is so much that can’t be undone or redone and there are now no more second chances.

Covenant Lutheran Church will do fine.  I think my leaving now will prove to be the best exercise of leadership I could do at this stage of the congregation’s life.  My prayer is that the congregation rallies together, the machinery of the larger Church comes alongside them as they discern their future, and that the office of Senior Pastor is filled with just the right person to help Covenant move forward in mission.

I share all of this with you, my electronic congregation of friends, so that you will understand why I won’t be writing devotions for awhile.  I sat at a blank keyboard for a long time this morning, full of the emptiness one feels when they have nothing at all to offer or say.  Writing devotions has been a part of the rhythm of my life, which means the rhythm of my ministry at Covenant, since 1997.  I need some time to adjust to the new rhythms that lie ahead.

I fully intend to resume writing once I get a sense of how my new position will feel.  It represents a new way of doing ministry for me, and that is going to mean a new way of hearing the Bible speak.  I need to live into those changes for a bit without the daily expectation of writing devotions.  Just give me some time and we’ll be back on track.

For now the best thing you can do in our devotions partnership is to pray.  My prayer is that the Spirit of healing and encouragement comes to touch us – all of us – in a powerful  and life-giving way as we move through the memories and meanings of Holy Week.

 

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18 Responses to “Monday, April 6th”

  1. Janice A. Says:

    Human endings/beginnings are very hard, aren’t they? I will be praying that you and that Covenant will both grow into what God would have you be as a result of this one.
    God bless!

  2. Mark Stensvold Says:

    We will pray Kerry.
    “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, either height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

  3. Diana R Says:

    I hope I don’t seem codependent when I tell you that I am sharing your deep sorrow, Pastor Kerry. For so many years, you have been my “online pastor” but you have also become my friend, allowing all of us to experience your joys and your limitations. Please know that we will be in prayer for you as you make this transition. There is light – and Light – ahead and right with you now.

  4. Marthe Hildreth Says:

    I truly thank you for being a big part of my spiritual lfe for several years. Your words have meant education, comfort, energy, hope. My family is a difficult one to lead and I have needed you. Yet everyone knows nothing in the earthly realm lasts forever. God speed on your journeys, and I pray you come back to your electronic congregation and friends with new life!

  5. klressel Says:

    My thoughts and prayers will be added to the others in your on-line community. And I too am reminded of the importance of both the faith community and also being still with God, thank you for sharing…God be with you.

  6. Michael Pritchett Says:

    I have both been inspired and received much joy from your devotionals. I truly missed them when you took time away, time that you and all of us need. I pray that God will lead you to where you need to be and where you can best share you excellent gifts with others. May God bless you deeply as you make this transition.

  7. Dave N Says:

    Your writings have been a great blessing to me as I prepare for work
    each day. Thank you, and God bless you and your past and future
    endeavors!!!

  8. LC Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry,
    The first thing I do every morning is get a cup of coffee and sit down and read your devotions. I wish I could express to you how much it means to be able to do that. You have gotten me through some very hard times because you always remind us that we are not alone. Also, you let us know the Lord is in charge and always has been.

    It is natural to look back and wish you had done things differently. Someday soon you will realize all you accomplished though.

    I pray the new direction in your life will bring you much happiness and fulfillment.
    Thanks for being here for us and please continue when the time is right for you.

  9. Lori P Says:

    May the Lord bless you and keep you.
    May the Lord’s face SHINE upon you with mercy and grace.
    May the Lord look upon your with favour and give you peace.
    And may the prayers of your devotional community carry you all through this barren wilderness. See you on the other side!

  10. Joene Says:

    Pastor Kerry –

    My heart goes out to you…I’ve only been a pastor not quite 3 years…this is my 3rd Holy Week and the emotions of pondering Jesus’ sufferings for us (me) is so quite overwhelming. Adding the emotions of your ‘death’ at Covenant must be painful.

    I’ve come to view your devotions as daily bread, you have become one of my pastors. I’ve also sent more than a couple devotions onto both councils that I serve. Some of those members have become regular readers too!

    You are in my prayers during this time of your transition. Please do not dwell too much on the moments of your humanity – opportunities lost, squandered, etc. Trust that God has found a way to use even your ‘sinning boldly’ moments.

    Blessings as you journey through the rest of Holy Week and into your new call.

  11. Mike Ketcham Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry,

    I was a new Christian when I started reading your devotions several years ago. Reading your devotion has been a great way to start my work day each morning. I have learned so much and I have grown in Christ (and He in me) ….in part to your daily words.

    Thanks and GodBless…

    MK in AZ

  12. Lena R, Says:

    This must be a very sad time for your congregation, as well. Changes and new challenges are always difficult. I trust with God’s guidance and grace and your wisdom and knowledge that you will do what needs to be done in this new position.

    Congratulations on this opening from God and I look forward to your swift return to the Daily Devotions. They help me start my day in God’s love.

    Lena R.

  13. marian severt Says:

    Pastor Kerry,
    Mark S. says it all through Paul in Romans. I will wait, patiently yet persistently for your return to your internet congregation. Your insight, your astute capture of the message and your honesty are so needed today. May God bless and keep you, make His face shine on you and give you His peace. Until we meet again.

  14. deg Says:

    I have been reading your devotions almost since they began and they have gotten me through some difficult times and some very good times. I will miss this daily milestone but I also know the need for rest and new challenges. Just a moment of thanks for many hours of support.

    Good luck and God speed with your new life adventures. I will pray for you and look forward to the return of these pages.

  15. DJD Says:

    Wow! I felt compelled tonight to look for a website (Lutheran – ELCA) that contains daily devotions that I could link or recommend on our website. I left the teaching ministry after 8 years (2003) and it was hard but a new door opened and God is using my talents in so many more useful and powerful ways now than I could have ever imagined. May you, Pastor Kerry, find God’s PEACE through all of this and come back renewed.

    Maybe you can do (or have your tenured readers recommend) a “Best Of” during this down time so us newbies and future readers can appreciate what has taken place over these last few years…you and your readers sound so Spirit led…and a digital daily devotion is something I have longed for…I feel it was no mistake that I was led here tonight. May both your search and renewal be blessed…Can’t wait to hear back from you when the time is right. =)

    May this Easter Season be a time of new beginnings for us all!

  16. Sam Thomas Says:

    Kerry, You are going to be missed. I have enjoyed your messages first thing in the morning. I wish you well. Hope I can subscribe to your messages sometime in the future Sam Thomas Towner ND (PS Flood warnings all around us today)

  17. Steve Says:

    For those of you who miss the devotions, Pastor Kerry has an archive which can be found here:

    http://www.ymlp180.com/pubarchive.php?RevKerry

    I too am suffering from “withdrawl” and feel an emptyness without Pastor Kerry’s wonderful teachings. I wish him well on his new journey and look forward to a new beginning.

  18. Bob Longman Says:

    Your absence (hopefully temporary) will be felt out here in Webland.

    Easter is a time for new starts. I don’t know what you’re headed for, but whatever it is, go for it.

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