New Things

A few years ago, as we were finishing a year-long worship series on “A Journey Through the Bible,” we found ourselves in the Book of Revelation in December, during Advent. The thought crossed my mind that it would be odd to deal with Revelation during the season of preparation for Christmas. But a particular Scripture verse from Revelation 21:5 kept running through my head, “And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.'” That made Revelation just right for Advent – that God was preparing us for a new thing, the coming of Christ once again at Christmas.

That verse is with me now, too. “See, I am making all things new.” God is about a new thing in my life and in your lives, too. Sometime when a new thing is on the horizon we view it with anticipation and excitement. Other times we’re a bit scared or uncertain, not sure what’s ahead. All those emotions are with me now. As I prepare to retire from serving as your Lead Pastor at St. Mark’s, I’m excited about what lies ahead – time with Art and our family for being together, traveling, resting and new adventures. I also anticipate that God has new ways for me to serve and lead. I just don’t know what those are yet!

I’m also sad about leaving you and uncertain about what it will be like to be retired. People tell me that I’ll be “busier than before” or “so happy to be able to choose what to do with my days.” I imagine those things are true AND that it will take some adjustments.

I expect that many of you have the same range of emotions that I have – anticipation over a new Lead Pastor and what lies ahead and sadness about the transition. Then the verse from Revelation comes to me again, words from God to strengthen, uplift and excite us: “See, I am making all things new.”

God has been with us through this strange and challenging pandemic time and all the challenging times before this. In the midst of change and uncertainty, God is already working to bring about a new thing. That is the essence of our Christian faith – out of sorrow comes new life.

So, I release you into the care and leadership of your new Lead Pastor, Rev. Lynn Bartlow, and your continuing pastors, Rev. Stuart Salvatierra and Pastor Kim Ogle. I ask that you release me as well. Turn to Rev. Lynn (and Stuart and Kim) for funerals and memorial services, weddings and baptisms, as well as for pastoral care. Turn to them for ideas you have for ministries and ways you want to serve. I trust that through them and you God is already doing new things, bringing life and possibilities and will do even more as you serve together.

Remember to always ask yourselves, in Jesus’ name, “What is the most loving thing to say or do right now, in this situation?” I will be holding you on my heart and in my prayers and hope you will do that for me and my family. Art and I both thank you for your care for us. Thank you for loving and serving and for all that you have given and entrusted to me. It has been my great privilege to serve Christ with you.

Love and blessings,

Three ways to access our pre-recorded service:

  • From the main menu on our website click WORSHIP
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.
  • The YouTube link will also be shared on Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson or use this link.

The service will go live at 9:45 a.m.