For the almost the whole last year I have been driving up to Vernal and then over to Rangely about twice a month to preach, and administer the sacraments. It has been a good year. You never figure on getting so attached to a couple congregations 4 and 5 hours away. That is Utah.
Last night I headed up for the last time to do anything official. I participated in the ordination of Jonathan Schulz, a young enthusiastic pastor that will serve these congregations well. Keep him and his family, wife Amy, and son Joshua, in your prayers. They will need it as they learn to adjust to Utah. Don’t get me wrong. I love Utah, but there is a lot to adjust too here. The saying goes eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be in Utah! That saying about sums it up. One morning you wake up, and find you really are in a different country. You turn on the news to find a half hour documentary on the opening of a temple, or the uproar over HBO exposing a temple rite, to be followed by a review of the Jazz Game, or when they are not actually playing games you will get updates on how they did in practice that day. Economy? War? Forget about it. If a “prophet” dies you may go two weeks before any news from the outside world reaches you. You’re lucky to get the weather for your back yard. Schulze’s ordination is a far more unusual event in Utah then the opening of a “Temple.” But sorry Jonathan, the new edifice in Draper has a long enough shadow to overshadow events in Vernal. You didn’t make the news.
It was a good event, a joyful event. There was no burning bosom. Lutherans, especially in Utah, tend to reach for the Tums when that sort of thing happens. But it was joyous, and full of good cheer. As it should be, two congregations, two out posts in the wilderness, just received a pastor, who has promised to feed them with the gospel. Can there be anything better?