My youngest daughter graduated from college in December. She is a woman of strong opinions and very independent. Two of her stronger opinions was never getting married young and hating winter. She never counted on the boy who came into her life. He graduated in May and got a job in Minnesota.
I have a Keurig coffee maker in my office. I like it for 2 major reasons; It’s extremely convenient and I can have several varieties of hot drinks for anyone who comes to my office. Whatever I’m in the mood for that day, as long as I have the K-Cup, I’m good to go. Do you want regular coffee? I’ve got it. Want tea? I’ve got it. Want a flavored coffee? I’ve got it. And it’s all yours in 2 minutes or less. (now imagine Tim Allen doing his man grunt from Home Improvement)
Well, the day finally came. Helene and I are now officially “empty nesters.” Our youngest graduated from college and has packed up and moved to another state. She isn’t coming back at the end of the semester like every time before. This time, she packed up her room. Posters gone, clothes gone, mementos gone, 6 bags of trash were added to our garbage can!
It’s hard to believe, but I have been preaching here at Rochester for 25 years. They gave me a wonderful celebration back in May to honor that anniversary. It was a great day down memory lane with friends and family both physical and spiritual.
It got me to thinking about what I have learned over my time here. Since this was my first pulpit work, I have learned a lot of lessons. All good lessons, but some the hard way!
I have had far too many discussions with people about why they don’t need to be part of a church. “I get what I need from the internet or TV” “I love Jesus, but I don’t like church” “I am part of a great online community and that meets my needs.” Those are just a sampling of comments I have heard the last few years. Now, the trend is moving toward what’s called “Virtual Church.” They are saying churches should live stream their worship services and have forums for people to engage online as a supplement to the physical location and group of people who come together.
That all sound good until you need a physical touch; a hug of assurance, and encouraging arm around your shoulder, weeping eyes of someone willing to hold your hand and weep with you.