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  • Writer's pictureRick Chaffee

The Last...

   For some time we have been talking about retiring. Our church Search Committee has been working for the past year on finding prospective candidates to become our next minister.  It has been my hope and prayer to make what often is a difficult transition into one that instead is cause for celebration and optimism.  That is still the goal and we are praying daily for its realization. 


   To be honest, however, it seems like each routine task I do comes with the sense that this is the last time I will do it. Certainly that is not true of everything, we are still continuing all the tasks of pastoral ministry, but I have given my last Advent/Christmas series of sermons.  I have led my final Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.  By the time you read this I will have completed my last series of sermons on retirement. (My goodness, how many have there been?)  I am writing up my last Annual Meeting Report and will chair my last annual meeting in February. As each last passes there is a sense of an incomplete completion.  There is still more to do, so much left undone.  But time pushes each of us to our own kind of assessment of the last.


   As I thought about these lasts today I was reminded that “the first” and “the last” are words claimed by God and truly they belong wholly to him.  This passage in Isaiah is a particularly encouraging reminder to me of that as it points beyond our last season to what God still has for us.  I quote it here for you to ponder with me. 


     This is what the LORD says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who

will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  For I

will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit

on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  They will spring up like grass in a

meadow, like poplar tress by flowing streams.  One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD;’ another

will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘the LORD’s,’ and

will take the name Israel.  This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the

LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. 

(Isaiah 44:2-6)


   No matter how we gauge the time or figure the first and the last, God himself personally oversees it all.  And clearly he is not done with us or with our children.  Our church is in his hands and from the beginning, be that 200 years ago or 40 years ago, he has and will continue to form, chose, pour, and bless all those who take his name for he is the true King and Redeemer, the First and the Last.

See you in Worship.


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