“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
The Broadway musical “Wicked” tells the story of the land of Oz before Dorothy and Toto dropped in unexpectedly. It introduces us to two remarkable young women – one smart, fiery and with emerald green skin, the other beautiful, an airhead and very popular. The musical explains how the former woman goes on to become the Wicked Witch of the West, while the other becomes Glinda, the Good Witch. But in this version, they are both admirable.
In the course of the show, the two women sing a duet, the song, For Good. Listen to the words they sing:
It well may be that we will never meet again
In this lifetime,
So let me say before we part, so much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart;
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine by being my friend:
Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea,
Like a seed dropped by a skybird in a distant wood,
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
This will be my last Friday devotional. I’ll keep blogging at http://www.bronyocum.org for those who enjoy these columns. But as I come to the end of my time at Grove, I can echo the words of the two witches – I have been changed for good by you, the people of Grove Church. Your love and care for one another including me and my family, your passion for ministry and the community around you, your desire to learn more about your faith and deepen your relationship with God, all of these qualities have had an impact on me, helping me grow in my faith. I leave Grove a better person and a better pastor than when I first arrived. I know that because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
And as the song says, you will be with me, for the rest of my life, like a handprint on my heart, shaping how I live and how I believe. For the many gifts you gave me, from your affirmation of my ministry to your care during my recuperation to your wonderful and generous gifts as I prepared to leave, thank you. I hope we do meet again, but no matter what, please know that because I knew you, I have been changed both for the better and for good. I pray that you, too, have been changed for good by God’s work through me during my time at Grove. For God can accomplish through us so much more than we could ever ask for or even imagine. God bless you and keep you until we meet again at Grove’s 250th anniversary!