For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
And, now it begins! Finally, the day has arrived to begin ministry together.
The passage above has played an important role in my life. In the history of faith, it is the moment when God is telling Moses that his time of service is now complete and Joshua will be his successor. When I first read it, better than two decades ago, I was filled with wonder at such a momentous time in the lives of Moses, Joshua, as well as the faithful. I was taken by the grace Moses must have known to support Joshua’s ministry. I was equally excited for Joshua and the awesome courage it must have taken to first follow such footsteps and then take the lead. Then, I thought about the people of God and how they must have felt! Ruminating on this pas- sage for quite some time, I came to the conclusion that if God ever called me to ministry, I would answer that call. Decades later, this passage is still important to me. It is interesting how life and scripture are interrelated, considering I am following a Moses of a pastor.
My family couldn’t feel more welcomed to Ashland. Folks turned out in force to unload trucks and trailers. We worked hard on a hot day. After all the boxes were unloaded, many of us cooled off with a swim in Lake Superior. We are so very thankful for not only the help unloading but especially all the unseen work preparing the manse for us. As we get better acquainted with it, we find all over the house and yard evidence of thoughtful things people have done. These things have made the whole Deters family feel very loved and has eased the transition, especially for the children. If I may share a story: On a trip last week to ready our former home for sale, when the children walked into the house, they were heard to quietly say one by one, “I like this place, but it’s no longer home. That is in Ashland.” I am grateful for the caring that this congregation and community have af- forded my family to transition so smoothly.