Final Service

27 May

Well, it’s done. The Pentecost Combined service with the Koreans went better than I had expected. The same ‘energy’ and excitement and spirit was there again, as in the previous services. We are getting a little more at ease with this each time we do it. There were three full benches of young people, most of them looking like they were highschool age. The worship space felt full. The music was excellent, with Rob doing his thing on the drums and Eric on the guitar, Sarah on the piano and Frances playing the Alto recorder now and then. The missing Korean musicians was compensated for wonderully by two young girls from the congregation being song leaders along with Sue and Christina. That all sounded wonderful.

An interesting moment before the service for me was when I saw a girl from our congregation meet up with a Korean girl and they started playing together immediately. I went over to talk to them, and they told me they were in a class together at school. Those are the kind of things that were adding ‘buzz’ and a feeling of celebretive reunion to the service.

This was the first time I had a team who helped me put it together. That helped a lot. Even so, there were lots of last minute changes and decisions to make right up to the start. But there is something neat even about the chaos preceding such a service, a chaos which suddenly comes together into a worship event that clearly most are thouroughly enjoying.

I found the part where we had numerous people stand and say John 3:16 in various languages to be very touching. I think there were about 12 by the time we finished, ranging from Hindi to Fresian, Dutch, German, French, South Africaans, to Japanese, Taiwanese, Mandarin etc all started with English and Korean. It was powerful somehow. What added to it was the enthusiasm and serious intensity mixed with joy some showed in speaking that gospel nugget. Dora added “He’s Alive” when she finished the French (I may not have heard that right). Florence recited the verse from memory in Hindi with a beaming face showing joy. Amanda had to be coaxed into saying it a second time in Taiwanese, but she too did it from memory. Awesome. Touching. Fitting.

Afterward there was a lot of excitement too. Conversations, questions etc. Florence had an Indian lady friend visiting from Australia and that lady asked Pastor Park and I to pose for pictures, which we gladly did, putting our arms around each other like good longtime buddies. Her camera was not working right, so we stood there quite a while. She never got her picture, though she got one when Prakash and I posed.

Pastor Park and Nick knew it was my last service, and began telling their people that after we were done. The response was not something I had expected. Several of them came to me and in the best English they could muster expressed their sense of loss. One man was talking to me and his young son came and interupted. The man said something to the boy, which I took to be “I am saying goodbye to Pastor Pete, this was his last Sunday here” and the boy immediately moaned and went limp with a clear expression of sadness. I gave him an arm around the shoulder and had a little chat with him about how even though we might not like goodbyes, they were sometimes necessary. There were a few such moments with Korean members. Nick and Pastor Park also said their goodbyes and I told them how much I had appreciated working with them, and they returned that.

Several people from Mundy Park also came to acknowledge and express their feelings about this being my last Sunday.

So it is done. I almost was overwhelmed with emotion driving home. This whole thing feels so WRONG, yet I see it’s necessity clearly. But when the wrongness overwhelms me like that, I don’t like the deep sadness I feel. I gain comfort from the ongoing sense that God is leading this, that I am to trust, to wait, to see, because he has something good in store, something good for his Kingdom.



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