My Last Sunday @ Stonybrook
The title tells most of the story. Yesterday, Father's Day, was my last Sunday at Stonybrook after four years. I was already scheduled to preach, and I'd already prepared a Father's Day sermon called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." It was about Elijah mentoring Elisha (the Good), Eli and his wretched sons, Hophni & Phineas (the Bad), and the generation of Israelites who grew up not acknowledging the Lord or remembering what He did for them (the Ugly). It went pretty well. My main point was that we must share God's story.
There was a presentation of a basket of cards made at each service; the PPR chair (who I don't think cares for me or Tara much) made the presentation and was obviously flustered by doing so -- he didn't look at us when he made the presentation. But following that was something I wasn't expecting whatsoever. It was right before I was going to preach; D invited anyone in the congregation who felt like it to come down and lay hands on us and pray for us. Almost the entire congregation came down. It was a huge crowd at each service. Also, during the 11:00 service, the congregation began clapping for us. I looked up and saw Brian B stand up, then someone else, then some more, and before I knew it, the entire congregation was up, giving us a standing O. They stayed up for minutes; it was rather embarrassing and extremely humbling.
After the 8:30 and 11:00 services, there was a reception for us. There was cake and punch (though I really didn't get a chance to have much of either) and a steady stream of people coming to talk to me. Some were excited for us, others were sad, there were some tears (more from some people than others). Everyone wrote cards for us and that was neat. There was also a sizeable check for us, which ruled.
We were there until 2:00, and we were exhausted. That afternoon/evening the high school guys' small group came by, and that was great. It's neat to have watched them grow up -- I was remembering some good times with each of them. There were a lot of them.
Anyway, it's back to packing. I won't be updating this any time soon, as I'll be on vacation and then moving, so don't fret!