And I Will Pray
Dear Ebenezer family:
When you receive this, I’ll be very close to being retired. As I enter this next phase of my life, I am deeply grateful for so many things, not the least of which is all of you. My two sojourns with you (2013–2014 and 2017–2018) have been rich experiences of community and grace.
Many people have asked me what I’ll be doing in retirement. I’ll continue my 1:1 work with people in spiritual direction. I’ll continue to be the Director of the Spiritual Direction Certification Program at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. I intend to make sure the house is a little cleaner and our lives are a little more peaceful.
And I will pray.
In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul advises us to pray without stopping. That doesn’t mean living on our knees constantly, but it does mean living with an ever–increasing awareness of God’s presence in our life. To pray without stopping is to practice the presence of God. To pray without stopping is to rehearse the realization that we are never alone.
My very first spiritual director told me back in 1980 that his retirement ambition was to pray. Then, I thought that sounded pretty strange. Now that I’m retiring, it makes wonderful sense.
Life circumstances separate people. Death drastically interrupts our being with the ones we love. But there is One from whom we are never separated. One who will never leave us. One who is always with us.
The poet knew it well:
Where could I go to escape your spirit?
Where could I flee from your presence?
If I climb the heavens, you are there, there too, if I lie in Sheol.
If I flew to the point of sunrise,
or westward across the sea,
your hand would still be guiding me,
your right hand holding me.
If I asked darkness to cover me,
and light to become night around me,
that darkness would not be dark to you;
night would be as light as day.
God is with us! Thank you, Jesus!
Love, Pastor Gary