Or you’ve parted ways with a friend in a mad dash to the airport without final words?
Or you haven’t been able to find that favorite teacher or buddy in the midst of the large crowds at a graduation ceremony to say “thanks?”
I think we all have.
And, I hate situations like this.
I like saying goodbye. Closure is a great comfort. Words like, “Thank you” or “I love you” Or, “I look forward to our paths crossing again” are a part of what good endings are all about.
In the church, as many pastoral leaders can tell you, we suffer from a lot of cliff hanger types of relationships with our parishioners. Lots of folks leave without telling us that they are leaving and most certainly not saying goodbye.
Someone has a spiritual or family crisis and goes from present every Sunday serving in multiple ministries to the status of “Where in the world did they go? Anybody heard from them?” in a flash second.
And in response, when contacts of concerns are made by the pastor or other caring church family folks such as: “We miss you. . . . We hope you are alright. . . . We hope you’re still alive . . . ” and there’s no response. It is a great grief is suffered when it feels like the cold shoulder is given. Leaving without saying goodbye can feel like a slap in a face to what the relationship has meant in the months and years prior.
I understand that relationships and the dramas of life are messy, though. I understand that the best possible scenario of closure just is not always possible. But, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do a better job of holding ourselves accountable to end as well as we began.
So, as you all know, I will be leaving my post as pastor of Washington Plaza Baptist Church on December 24th. It’s a little less than a month away. And, in these next several weeks, I want to make good use of the time. I want to continue to engage in the life of the church as much as a possibly can so to make this time of transition a healthy and smooth one for everyone. And, I don’t want to leave without saying goodbye.
My pastorate at WPBC has been about more than just the members or regular worship attenders. Many of you online have been a part of our church and many of you have popped in and out of our ministry as your life situations have allowed. I want to include you too. Let me not leave without getting to see you too. Consider coming back to one of our Advent worship services that begin THIS Sunday at 11 am and continue throughout the month.
I have shared with the congregation this week that I am available to meet with folks for lunch or dinner or coffee over the next several weeks. Don’t hesitate to contact me to find a time to get together.
I want to say goodbye, celebrate the good work we’ve done together and anticipate the great future that is ahead for both of us!
I haven’t left yet.