Brothers and Sisters,
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he says “thanks be to God for his indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Undoubtedly, Paul is speaking of the gift of God in the person of Jesus Christ and the Gospel that comes as a result of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Each day my heart is thankful for this indescribable gift.
Today I am also thankful for “an indescribable gift” that the people of the Church of the Good Shepherd are giving to me and my family. That indescribable gift is my upcoming sabbatical which begins in just over two weeks. On June 30, I will turn off the lights in my office, close down my email, and power down my phone. I am only able to do that because of my faith in the sovereignty of God and his sustaining grace. Otherwise, I would feel that your well-being was up to me when in reality that just could not be.
In these last two weeks, I will be talking about sabbatical more and more. I have purposefully been quiet about it unless asked because we have much to do to fulfill the vision God has given us. But now it is time to make sure that you are ready for my departure. I will be seeking some intentional conversations and visits before I go. If there is something that you would like to tell me – something to pray for while I am away or to help with in the interim- please let me know.
To say that it is overwhelming to step away from the ministry that has defined my life for the last 9 years is an understatement. For 17 weeks, I will solely be what I should primarily be each and every day – first and most importantly a beloved son of the Living God redeemed by the blood of Jesus, a husband to my faithful wife Tara, and a father to my beautiful girls. Each of them sacrifices much for the ministry and I am thankful to give them this time.
Please know that you will be in my hearts. I will be praying for you generally and specifically. I will be thanking God that you, the people of Good Shepherd, have given me an indescribable gift.
With much love,
Fr. Shay +