In courage

Pastoral Messages | July 7, 2016

Goodbyes are always hard. As I near the end of my time at St. Paul, I wasn’t expecting to say goodbye just a year into my residency. I had plans; plans to be here for two years. I had plans; plans to really live into parish ministry and fall in love with it again. I had plans; plans to grow into my sense of being a pastor. One thing that I have learned in my adult life is that I can make all the plans in the world, but my life will not unfold in those ways. I had plans here at St. Paul, but that was not how my life was to unfold here.

One of my favorite prayers of all time is from the service “Morning Prayer,” and it reads: “O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.” I love praying this prayer before many occasions, during mission trips, before the start of something new, on days when I just need a do-over, etc. As I begin another life transition, this prayer brings me more comfort and encouragement to live into the unknown.

We all have found ourselves with the best-laid plans, and found ourselves someplace other than expected. Or maybe life has taken us down a different path, treacherous or dark and unknown. But like this prayer reminds us, this is our life’s journey. We are on ventures to where we cannot see the ending, we don’t know what waits for us or if we will be placed on a different and unexpected path. But as people of faith, what we do know is that God gives us the faith to go forward in courage. What we trust in with all our hearts is that God takes our hand and leads us and supports us.  As our paths go different ways, I pray this prayer for you all, grateful for our time together, and blessed as I continue on this new and unexpected venture.

Liesebet Gravley, pastor in residence

6 Comments on “In courage”

  • Deb Lamp

    July 8, 2016 at 8:36 am

    What a great message, you will be great wherever God leads you. Your support and prayers during our recent tragedy shows how great you will be. We will miss you but you will be awesome . My family and I have seen that side and are stronger for it. God gives us strength if we allow it. Thank you and God is Great!!!

  • Heidi

    July 7, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey with this place we call St. Paul. You were so kind to visit my Mom and spend time with her when she was in the hospital. You will be a blessing to many in that sort of ministry. Godspeed, Liesebet.

  • Bob and Cathy Crampton

    July 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    You will be missed. May God Bless on you new adventure.

  • Dave DeWit

    July 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    We’really sorry to see you go. I’m confident you will remain courageous, flexible, and trusting. (Wish I could hear you sing the Great Thanksgiving one last time.)

  • John King

    July 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    You left a wonderful parting message. We talked a couple of weeks ago of my career in managing hospital systems and my introduction into CPE at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis in 1962. May you have a inspirational CPE trading experience and ministry in pastoral care in hospitals or wherever God leads you.

  • Kaaren Nelson

    July 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    May God richly bless you in your new venture. I know that the people you meet along your new path will be blessed by your ministry to them.

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