June 15, 2020 - Awesome

To God be the glory! God is an awesome God!

Saturday, June 13, 2020 was one of those days that you would describe as being awesome and amazing. It was a day that Rhoda and I shall never forget. The question was asked of us, "Were you surprised?" The answer is yes from both of us, for we had no clue. Rhoda asked the question in response, "Do you think I would have rollers in my hair and my work clothes on if I had known you all were coming." It was indeed a day that we shall cherish forever. When the celebration was over, it was as if we had had an amazing dream. To say the least, "It was one of those days that could be classified as unimaginable and incredible." If you wanted to make us rejoice and be happy, just know you did so in a very special, spectacular and unique way. Grace has been mighty good to us over the years, but Saturday, June 13, 2020 was one of the great highlights of our tenure at Grace.   

One would have to see it to believe it. It was indeed a site to see and if you did not see it, you can't really describe it. Well, on Saturday Grace UMC decided they would celebrate my retirement with a "drive by" on the farm. It was as if cars were coming from everywhere. Our neighbors were awestruck by the number of vehicles and various noises coming to the farm. From what I understand, the processional/parade started from Frederick Douglas High School and traveled 8 miles to our home. Someone asked the question, "Do you think the police will come because of the number of persons gathering?" The response was, "The police are in the processional. According to neighbors, it was something the community has never witnessed before and wondered what the occasion could be. To add flavor and class to the procession/parade, the cars were decorated in some very creative and beautiful ways. It was evident that some of the vehicles were so artistically done that you knew a great deal of energy and effort had gone into the designs. The art work, balloons, signs, etc. just added to the attraction. Again, we could not believe our eyes. Please know that your faces will forever be engraved on our hearts. This was indeed a day that the Lord had made and we did indeed rejoice in it. I felt that God had reserved and set aside portion of the day just for this occasion. Our hearts were filled with joy.

I know that trying to figure out how and what to do during this pandemic caused for some serious thinking and planning. I want to thank all of you for wearing your masks and for at least attempting to maintain social distancing. I received calls from persons who never made it to the farm because the procession was so long that they did not participate, but they sent their regards. To SPRC and the Planning Team, you did a phenomenal job and we will be grateful to you forever. I am always so pleased with Grace because regardless of the event and how many people attend, once the event is over, there is no sign that it even occurred. The property is left just as it was when you came. I am not sure of all the people on the planning team, but please know that we could not ask for more. You did our hearts good!

Many of you know that Rhoda is a flower enthusiast, so what did you do? You gave her all types of flowers. We even received an orange tree, roses, rose bushes, hibiscus, English lavenders, and others. I am not a flower person, but these are a few of the names of flowers I heard Rhoda mention. We are grateful for the many gifts, cards, pictures, etc. However, I have always heard my mother say, "You can give flowers, send cards, write letters, etc., but nothing outweighs the presence of people in good and bad times. Your presence and your time at our home on Saturday was the pinnacle or apex of our time at Grace.                        

I have been in an appointment for 20 years and there were persons who drove through who have been with me for all those years and I am grateful. There were persons who joined grace who were in the parade, and I am grateful. There were children and young adults and we are grateful. There were friends who will always be our friends and we will forever be grateful. There were the elderly and we are grateful. There were all types of people and we are thankful to God for the many remarkable people we have served.  Again, it was like a dream come true. Your genuine and authentic love will be in our hearts forever. 

Please always know that you are an amazing and awesome people, but our God is greater and He is worthy to be praised for all He has done in our lives. Rhoda and I have truly been blessed by God's awesomeness over the last 20 years of our ministry. God has blessed us with good health, wonderful children, a remarkable family, great friends, outstanding church members, etc. What else is there to life?

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe." Deuteronomy 10:17  

"Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in his deeds  toward the children of man." Psalm 66:5

"But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Just know that it was a day that will always be dear to us. It could never be replicated or repeated. Rhoda cried, but I didn't. I was a big boy. Just kidding!

Take time today to recognize how awesome and amazing God has been in your life. We are speechless, for He is good!

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor