June is finally here. It is hard to believe, but June is finally here! For me, it has been a long road of trying to live out my identity in Christ, trying to be responsive to His plans for how my life is to be spent. It has been a long, four-year, intense period of selling our home, leaving good neighbors and a good job, and trudging to the Seminary to begin formal studies there. It has been a long road of again getting acclimated to academic life, trying to find a natural rhythm in a small apartment, and spending a lot of time reading. It has been a long road getting to this point…and now it is almost over. June is finally here!
My guess is that you have experienced a long road as well. Different. Yes. Just as long. Just as twisting and turning. Just as uncertain, challenging, and simultaneously rewarding. Probably. You may not have sold everything to go crowd into a small St. Louis apartment to study theology, but our goals have been the same: To try to live out our common identity in Christ (which, by His grace, we have been freely given) by trying to live well. To say it a bit differently, we have (I hope) all tried to live out our identity in Christ by trying to grow in our love of God, our love of others (in His name), and trying to make disciples (fellow followers) of Jesus along the way. That is my hope…summed up in six simple letters: LGLOMD.
I wish that I could tell you how awesome I am at it. I wish I could tell you that I have a disciplined appreciation for who God is and fully comprehend what He has done (and continues to do) for me. I wish I could tell you that I have perfect vision for those around me and that I sacrificially love them every time an opportunity presents itself. I wish I could tell you that I am always focused on God’s Kingdom and not my own desires, plans, and goals. I wish I could tell you these things…but I can’t. Life sometimes gets compartmentalized. I forget that everything, every situation, every relationship is about Him and His kingdom. I forget that my life is not my own. That I died and my life is now hidden with Christ (Colossians 3:3). And my guess is that I am just like you.
We DO have a new identity. I have been bought with the precious blood of the Son of God. I did die and my life is now hidden with Christ. Because of Him, I can life a focused, purposeful life. Perfectly? No. But one that is wrapped in, bathed in, covered over by the grace of God. Through faith, I can attack tomorrow knowing that God has plans for my life…and for yours!
As we make the turn into summer, and into a new chapter together as God’s people in Cape (as part of the St. Andrew family), my prayer is that we will remember who we are. That we are His. And that we will remember life in Christ, life spent focused on His Kingdom, life spent LGLOMD-ing, is a good life indeed!
So, thanks for this past year as your vicar. Thanks for the encouragement, trust, and willingness to be stretched. Thanks for the year of learning, and making mistakes, and forgiveness. Thanks for sharing life with the Dehne clan. And now…we turn to the future. We turn to a new role for me and a new reality for you. We turn to the future. And the future is bright! So let’s get after the pursuit of His Kingdom. Let’s get busy failing forward together…