Farewell From Pastor Bruce
Dear friends in Christ, when I started writing this farewell Markings article, a queasy feeling came over me, as the reality of me retiring soon, is sinking in. After 22 years of being your Pastor at St. Mark’s where do I begin? First, I want to praise the Lord for all the blessings that we have experienced together and thank Him for our partnership in the Gospel, echoing what St. Paul said to the Christians at Philippi “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:3-5). Second, I pray that you will continue to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God had called you heavenward in Christ Jesus,” echoing St. Paul again (Phil. 3:14). Third, I want to thank you for calling me as your Pastor and for the honor it has been to serve you and the Lord here at St. Mark’s.
As I think back upon the wonderful memories that I will always cherish, what comes to mind is the privilege that I had to be a part of your lives by officiating at baptisms, confirmations, first communions, weddings, funerals, worship services, hospital visits, etc. What a joy it had been to be able to preach the Gospel and share the love that Christ has for us and the world. I also spent a lot of time at meetings over 31 years in the ministry, and although nobody ever got save at a meeting, I am confident that through our efforts people were reached with the Good News of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Thank you to the many volunteers who have served over the years and the dedicated leaders in our ministries.
I encourage you to continue to focus on St. mark’s vision: “Every heart without Christ is a mission field. Every heart with Christ is a missionary;” motto: “Reaching the lost and strengthening the saved; and goal: “Daring to connect today’s generations to Jesus.” It is a challenging time that we live in with our changing culture, but we should not be dismayed as we seek to carry out our Lord’s great commission to make disciples of all nations. We can go forward confidently knowing that we go forth with Christ’s authority and that He will be with us always in the mission He has given us.
I have often said at funerals that when we say farewell to a loved one we should say, “see you later” instead of “farewell,” because we will see them again in heaven. So also, I would like to say to you “see you later” instead of “goodbye.”
In closing, I want to especially thank the staff at S. Mark’s that has been such a blessing to me and the congregation. It has been a joy working beside them as we grew as friends in Christ, serving God’s people in this place. I have them and all of you “in my heart” as St. Paul also said in Philippians 1:7. To God be the glory and praise!
Your Friend in Christ,
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Pastor Bruce’s Last Sermon