(An excerpt from my final Pastor’s Report at Pilgrim Church UCC.)
When I was in high school, the musical RENT was all the rage. “Seasons of Love” was one of the most moving songs in the musical, asking the question: “how do you measure a year?”
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love?
Measure in love. Seasons of love.
As I’m writing this last Pastor’s Report, I have 27 days left at Pilgrim Church. In the midst of the packing, arrangements being made, and the upcoming move, I’ve been contemplating how I can adequately measure my ministry here among you. I keep a Pastoral Records Book, so I could measure my ministry by noting the following: 14 Baptisms, 18 Confirmands received as full members of the Church, 5 Weddings, 19 Memorial Services/Funerals and Committals, 226 sermons (230 by April 30th!) performed while serving as your pastor. These acts of ministry could help me measure my time in Lexington, Massachusetts.
But I think I’ll stick with the sentiment expressed in RENT by measuring my ministry in love if you will! After all, how can numbers ever adequately capture what those moments in someone’s life meant for me blessing people on behalf of the Church? Or for the couple married or someone honoring the life of a loved one or witnessing a baptism or confirmation or being inspired by a sermon? In the end, I’m incredibly grateful to all of you who supported me, encouraged me, and helped me grow as I began my ministry among you at 25 right out of Seminary. I am excited about the future and feel well-prepared to serve the next congregation on my own journey–thanks in large part to the experiences at Pilgrim. Thank you.
Saying goodbye isn’t easy, though I know that God is with you and that God is with me in these times of transition. That’s where the comfort lies. And thus my ministry now and into the future will be measured in love.