[T]he former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Hebrews 7: 23 – 24
When somebody gets fired or laid off or disabled or quits or dies, transitions are hard.
In the passage above, the author tells his fellow Jews that Jesus Christ has taken the place of their ancient, historic succession of priests. The New Testament book called Hebrews was written after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by a Jew who chose to follow Jesus. They were going through a terrible transition in their religion, trying to make sense of God’s plan when their beautiful Temple lay in ruins and its priests were no longer conducting their ancient sacrifices.
In our lives today, we go through difficult transitions. Here’s one, hot from the news:
A manager at a Kmart in Pennsylvania went the extra mile when announcing to shoppers his store was closing for the last time.
Video footage shows Joshua Englert, 34, a Kmart employee of 18 years, holding back tears as he thanks loyal customers and his colleagues for ‘working together to get through the stressful times.’ Mr. Englert's Kmart in McMurray, south of Pittsburgh, is one of dozens forced to close after its parent company Sears filed for bankruptcy on Monday with several billions of dollars in debts. Mr. Englert posted the video of his final goodbye to his store on his Facebook, where it has since been seen by more than 47,000 people.
“Attention Kmart shoppers, your McMurray Kmart will be closing for the last time in just five minutes. I wanted to take this opportunity not to sell you 40 cent plaid skirts or five cent panties, but instead thank you for supporting a lifetime of memories.
“Sincere thank you to the people who have made this store their second homes. I have worked for Kmart for 18 years, more than half my life. I am the man I am today because of the people that I have met here at Kmart.
“The retail environment - it's pretty stressful - but we've always worked together to get through those stressful times: the inventories, the Black Fridays, the long lines for Tickle Me Elmos and PlayStation 4s, when we only had three of them.
“Thank you deeply to the Kmart McMurray team, you guys have made it all worthwhile. Once again, the time is 4:25; your McMurray Kmart will be closing at 4:30, thank you.”
[ www.dailymail.co.uk ]
In your own life, you may recall tough days like that— days of change and uncertainty.
In our UCC Conference, we have been going through a challenging transition of leadership since the sudden death of our longtime Conference Minister, Rev. John Deckenback, in the Summer of 2016. First we had an “Acting Conference Minister” for a few months. Next, we had an “Intentional Interim Conference Minister” who was confronted with a Fitness Review and chose to resign. Now we have another Acting Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Roddy Dunkerson, who is clearly looking forward to returning to Nebraska and retirement. So we can sense the longing for relief when Rev. Chuck Rush, the President of our Conference Board of Directors, writes to us saying, “Dear Friends, It is with great joy that I write to you today. The Conference Minister Search Committee has completed their work and have recommended to the Board of Directors that the Reverend Freeman L. Palmer be called as our new Conference Minister. The Board of Directors has affirmed this recommendation at our Board meeting today.”
Many of you Bethel people remember going through the discomforts of the minister Search and Call process in the past and can understand how
Rev. Rush feels.
Our Conference leaders are asking us to take the time to meet Rev. Palmer on November 16th at St. Stephen’s UCC in Harrisonburg, and then to return there the following day to vote on whether our Conference should hire him to be our next Conference Minister. Unless a “quorum” of churches send voting delegates, there will be no election and our leaders will have to back up and do things over again. If you would like to learn more about the candidate, Rev. Palmer, I will gladly share information with you.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me !”
- Mark 10:47