At the start of this interim journey, Bob Belcher gave me a picture of a highway in the desert with hills in the distance. That picture has sat on my desk for the last 2½ years reminding me of this long journey which now near its destination. I am grateful for the gift and the journey.
The highway takes up most of the picture at the bottom and grows increasingly narrow as the road stretches into the distance where the road is little more than a speck. I wonder what that road would look like if I could stand on that distant speck and look back. I find myself on this spot looking back over the last 2½ years and I am deeply grateful for this journey with you.
We have had normal events and tragic events. I have witnessed your care for each other and faithfulness in crisis. I am witness to your endurance in this unforeseen pandemic and your creativity in connecting. I celebrate with you the calling of Rev. Mary Alice Birdwhistell as our next pastor. We dare to look to the future even as the present weighs on us.
I have driven some desert highways and recall wondering when some long stretches would actually have a curve. I would find a curve, finally. Then unexpected beauty in rugged landscapes would be before me. I think of our future at Highland Baptist Church with wonder. We know the future journey is not predictable. Yet you are a people who rise to meet challenges. I am looking forward to the journey with great anticipation.
Thank you for the journey so far.