I find myself between two Sundays that are enormously significant in the lives of some leaders I care deeply about. Last Sunday I flew to Ft. Wayne, Indiana to celebrate the ordination service of my remarkable friend, Suze Fair. Surrounded by her denomination’s district leader, her Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, and her immediate family, Suze was celebrated and honored in 3 consecutive services. Wonderful words were spoken about her character, her pastoral leadership, and the journey that has brought her to this point in time. I sat near the front with Suze’s parents and other close friends who had traveled to mark the moment with her. As we celebrated later around burgers, brats, and roasted vegetables, Suze told me that she did not anticipate how meaningful the day would be for her. It turned out to be a big deal.
Next Sunday I will travel to Orlando for another big deal. My treasured friends for a couple decades, David and Caron Loveless, will be recomissioned to ministry about 18 months after leaving the pastorate. The departure was due to a moral failure on David’s part. That revelation led to an incredibly courageous deep dive into counseling, with both David and Caron facing the darkness together, opening themselves to repentance, truth telling, grieving, reconciliation, and healing. They will be surrounded Sunday evening by many friends and family who have walked closely with them and seen their process up close. It will be an honor to be in that circle, to celebrate their pathway back to being kingdom builders, and to give thanks for God’s redemptive power and grace in their lives.
It would have been an option on both of these Sundays to simply slide into the new reality, to not take the time for an actual ceremony marking God’s miraculous work. But I believe something hugely significant happens in the hearts of those who are honored and celebrated as well as in the lives of others who participate in the moment. We pay attention. We say YES to God’s goodness and we give thanks. These moments matter. How grateful I am for back to back Sundays filled with wonder and joy!