The End of Endings

 Last Sunday, Gary announced to the church body that he and his family will be moving to Denver to join with Park Church. Although their absence will be significantly felt, we want to rejoice in what God is doing with and through the McQuinns. For those who don’t know, the McQuinn family originally moved to Colorado with the heart to plant a church in the Denver area. As often happens, God’s plans were quite different from what Gary and Jamie imagined. Through their partnership with Aaron and Rita Santini, the McQuinns helped to plant The Crossing. The way in which this team of elders, now including Joey and Rich, has created a community which is centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing short of God’s divine providence in all our lives. Speaking for myself, I don’t believe that I would have the same level of understanding and love for the gospel if God had not put Gary into my life.
 As the McQuinns prepare to make the transition to Denver, many of us are feeling a profound sense of loss. For what it’s worth, I am convinced that this transition is the will of God. The way in which He has orchestrated the McQuinns’ situation shows me His sovereignty in all things, and I desire that we as a church respond in faith to God, and with encouragement and excitement for the McQuinn family.

 Additionally, I am convinced that God has many things to teach us through this transition. I would like to pose the question to you: Why is it, during times like these, that we experience sorrow and hurt? It’s been stated many times by the leadership that we believe this is the will of God, and that Gary leaving to partner with Park Church is a good thing. Why then do we have these mixed emotions – this bittersweetness? Why are we not happy that God is moving, and excited that He is using people whom we love to spread the gospel?

 I propose to you that the reason behind, and the remedy for our pain is found in the story of the gospel. In the first chapters of Genesis we see that God created everything, and all that He created was good. In Adam and Eve’s original state they were with God in the garden, worshiping their Creator for His glory and their joy. In this state, mankind could have remained forever, in intimate relationship with our Creator God. Of course, we know the story all too well. Because of disbelief, sin entered the world, and man’s communion with God was severed. The perfect relationship of love and obedience with our Heavenly Father was broken. Additionally, not only was our relationship with God forever marred (until we see Him again), but the relationships we share with each other have also been irreparably damaged.

 I want to submit to you the idea that the loss of intimate relationship, either with God or with fellow man, is something that we were not originally meant to experience. The reason that we experience pain and sorrow when something ends is because in God’s original good creation, we were not meant to experience endings.

 As we continue to grow and mature as a church body, we will continue to experience the closing of more chapters. Life groups will change and multiply, friends will move away, and we will all eventually taste the pain of death within our own congregation. So, as these endings continue to torment us, will we shake our fists in anger and rebellion at God, or will we recognize that the reason we feel this ache in our hearts is because we were made for something more; something future; something permanent? Is this what is meant in Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says that God has “set eternity in [our] heart”?

 How shall we respond? My prayer is that we respond with the gospel – the word of God which tells us that He is redeeming a people for Himself for all eternity. While we are yet on this Earth we will continue to feel the sharp sting of endings. But one day, Christ will return. The earth will be made new, and sin, death and pain will be no more. In that new creation, I believe we will cease to experience the grief of endings. Rather, we will experience perfect, unending communion with God and with man.

 There is only one caveat to experiencing this unending joy. If you’d like to know what it is to live in eternal glory with God, you must receive Christ as your supreme treasure in life. If you will put your faith in Him who came and paid the penalty for your sin, you will be joined with Him for eternity in Heaven.

 As the McQuinns’ chapter at The Crossing is coming to an end, we celebrate what God has done through them for His glory, and for our joy. Now we look forward to a time when we will know no more endings.