Superannuation—a Loss?

1-9By Velma Ruch of Lamoni, Iowa, USA

…By the grace of God, you are poised to fulfill God’s ultimate vision for the church. …steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ

—Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–b

Last week was an epiphany week for me. What had been so rich a time in writing my latest book suddenly was over, and I struggled with what it all means. That is when my superannuation came into the picture, as well. Another ending?  

I went through, I think, the worst struggle of my ministry, and there was much I still didn’t understand.

I did some thinking about the experience of emptiness I was going through. Primarily it was about the dark night of the soul—why I experienced it and then discovering that I was in no sense abandoned by God

I came to better understand what was meant by “the loss” felt at superannuation. It is indeed a loss—a loss we would avoid if we could. But it is going through “the shadow of the cross.” If we persist, as on the Worshiper’s Path in the Temple, we come out on the other side in the light. We see ikebana: the balance of Earth, humanity, and the Divine. 

I always had thought of the Worshiper’s Path as a perfect example of the development of the mystic life. I discovered the path to be the delineation of the whole process of superannuation, both the loss and the joy.

Before going to my superannuation service, I reread a paragraph of Doctrine and Covenants 164. It begins with my favorite phrase “Beloved children of the Restoration…”

I was looking for assurance that the cost of discipleship could be borne if we accepted God’s grace. I copied the scripture on a piece of paper: “By the grace of God, you are poised to fulfill God’s ultimate vision for the church.” We are called to live consecrated lives as we “steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ.”

I put the paper in my pocket and kept it with me throughout the service.

Prayer for Peace
Use us, God. We are yours. May we change endings to completions. Let our sorrows fade as we leave the dark behind and walk in the light.

Spiritual Practice: Examining God’s Call to Me and to All
Reflect on the ministry of your life. Begin by prayerfully asking to recall particular moments when you have experienced God’s presence and invitation. Write in your journal or quietly reflect on images and insights that come. How and when has God called you to use your energies and gifts? When have you felt disconnected or unable to serve? How do your gifts and callings connect with the call of God you notice in your family, friends, congregation, or community? Reflect on God’s light in your life.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not regret—I will remember the joy.

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