This was my first Sunday back to church since Mike left. I see the elders are making an effort to try to keep facts clear among the members and that is appreciated. It’s certainly not an easy subject to discuss, but they are doing their thing and accepting that responsibility, which shows we still have strong leadership.
I took the news about Mike pretty hard. I have always felt that I have a special bond with Mike. He plays a very key role in my particular story, how I came to know Christ and be saved. It’s one of my favorite topics to write about, and Mike is plastered all over most of my blog entries. It never occurred to me that he may not be our preacher someday. Again, here I am being a “new guy” at church. I thought for sure that he’d be the one to baptize my kids and maybe even marry them.
I got the short version of why it happened and that’s all I really need to hear. The details don’t help. I’m not interested in details. I never asked the question “why?” No answer to that question will change the situation. Instead of hearing what the elders had to say at the Wednesday meeting, and instead of responding to people reaching out offering to talk about it, I spent about 3 days hating everything, and wanting to punch people in the face. Hey, I’m just being honest and real.
Finally I had to meet with a friend to discus what happened, not an elder. I love our elders, but again, I didn’t want to talk about why this happened, I needed to meet with someone I could trust to scream and yell at, and tell them how unfair this was to me, and I’m not going to be the same, and how I’m not ready to not have Mike be our preacher. I had to get all that off my chest before I could have a conversation with anyone about it at all. I had to be a five-year old child and throw a tantrum first, and I did a fantastic job of avoiding people and conversation.
This is where I’m at now…
I won’t punch anyone in the face, but I’m still not interested in a conversation about “why.” My only question is, and has been, “what now?” If I leave Cedar Creek because of this, then I was going to church for the wrong reason to begin with. I know some people are leaving, and maybe they have their own reasons, but I’m here in my own place, in my own walk with Jesus, and I can’t leave Cedar Creek for this. I’m heartbroken, I’m mad, I’m reverting somewhat back to being a shell dweller, but I’m still here, and still with Cedar Creek. And yes, this is THAT profound of an occurrence in my life to me and my family. Some people act like this is a sort of thing that just happens once in a while, some think it’s none of our business what happens between the elders and the ministers, but nothing anyone can say will cheapen this for me.
I see this as Growth that God is asking of me. Mike talked a lot about going from milk to solid food spiritually speaking, and how we grow in our faith. God is asking me to grow up a bit, and frankly I don’t feel ready. If I knew that one day I’d not have Mike as a preacher, I’d have tried harder. I would have paid more attention, I would have read my bible more, I could have prepared.
Cedar Creek is my home, and my church family is there, and I love you all. The childish part of me that just wants to be mad is still here a little, and I don’t feel the need to apologize for that, but I also think that we as a church collectively really have to stick together right now. We all have to grow through this. Pushing forward is all we can do. I think that means new responsibilities for some of us, myself included, although I don’t know what they are yet, but I need you people, and we need each other.
In John 6 many of the people who were following Jesus left when they realized it was going to be hard to keep going. when Jesus asked the 12, “do you want to go away as well?” Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Even though Mike won’t be our preacher anymore, God is still God, and once you know that, you can’t just walk away.
So here we are. We need to grow from this, and in this. I’m still kind of mad, I still miss Mike, I don’t know what I’m going to do without him, I don’t feel ready, but I’m willling. I’m listening, waiting to see what God wants from me, where He’ll take me from here. One reason I’m here is because we have an awesome church family, and I love you guys. Even though I’m mostly shy and quiet, my heart is huge and alive, and often times I struggle to contain my emotions. But mostly I’m still here because like Simon Peter, I know that God is still God. “Lord, where else would I go?” Mike taught me that.
thanks Mike. we love and miss you.