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Celebrating Our Graduates This Morning…and Being a Little Nostalgic

In a few hours many of us will gather in the Fellowship Hall for a brunch to recognize and celebrate our graduating seniors and then bless them during the 10:00 service. I’ve spent the last week mulling through five years worth of photographs so that I could put together a little video to show at the brunch. I must admit that I had a few misty moments. It is hard to believe that I met this crew when they were in eighth grade. They have grown in so many ways. It has been a privilege to be their pastor through these years.

I am a bit nostalgic and sentimental in this moment because this recognition and blessing event marks my last official act as the youth pastor at Grace. The ministry season is finished. Kristi starts on June 22. I will pass the baton to her that week and move to a supervisory role for youth ministry. I am very pleased that she is coming and that we will have a person dedicated, full-time, to youth ministry. I know that I have not been able to be fully present in this position because of many other responsibilities. However, the times that I was able to be present with this group of students has been special. I have walked with them through confirmation, weekly Dojo gatherings, SaLT meetings, SWAT, mission trips, parties, service, pain, sorrow, joy, and celebration. I am grateful to have had a small part to play in helping them move into adulthood.

The Psalm for this morning is Psalm 1. The Psalmist reminds us that the one who delights in God’s Word is like a tree planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in season, whose leaves do not whither, and, in whatever s/he does, s/he prospers.

My prayer for this group is that each one will stay deeply connected to God, through Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray that s/he will always know how much s/he is loved by God and has a church family that will always be supportive. That the Word of God will speak to and through him/her through scripture, prayer, worship, schoolwork, play, friendship, and romance. That s/he will discover what God is calling her/him to do in life, and will embrace that calling with joy, to be a blessing to the world.

I leave them with this image  in which to dwell. It is my illustration of John 15:1-15, which is Jesus’ version of Psalm 1.
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