Emotions have been running high for the last week as we say good-bye to so many dear friends. It all started last Tuesday evening at a picnic with a small prayer group we have been a part of for some time. Dessert included well wishes, gifts, and prayers. It was overwhelming.
Saturday evening was spent at dinner with long time friends of Ray's and the above process was repeated. By then I couldn't even read the card out loud through the tears.
Sunday was the culminating event of the group good-byes, our last Sunday at Emanuel Lutheran Church, our spiritual home for the last five years; since my arrival in RI. The good folks there have encouraged me in the call to ministry and the journey that entails. Before the dismissal, our pastor called us forward so everyone could pray for us. We were presented with a lovely gift box of cards, letters, and gifts from our faith community, followed by a coffee hour in our honor. Again we were owerwhelmed. We had been concerned about finances and through all of our friends, God graciously provided. The box is meant to be a reminder of the prayers, love, and support of God's people at Emanuel.
The other day as I was thinking about all God has done through the last five years, all the ways he has used our RI family, I knew what that box was to be for us now and in years to come. Like the words of the hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," that box is to be our Ebenezer, our reminder of God's faithfulness. It will be prominently displayed in our apartment at seminary and all our future homes. "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come." What are the ebenezers,the touchstones in your life?