Monday, January 3, 2011
Monday Morning Preacher: Saying goodbye
I felt like it was a good and healthy farewell, which makes things so much easier. Not a lot of baggage after three months, of course, which helps. But still, it was long enough to make saying goodbye important.
Not long ago, I heard this story about a really nasty final sermon where the bishop took a hammer to a chalice he had been given when he first arrived. So ungracious, to say the least. I understand about unhappy leave-takings, but there's a difference between shaking the dust off your sandals and kicking sand in people's faces.
Good-bye, of course, is a contraction of "God be with ye," and it seems to me that's what any good final sermon will say in one way or another. You don't have to like one another to say "The Lord be with you."
I think one of the worst things a preacher can do is leave people hanging, either by not acknowledging there's any change happening, or by venting without any chance for two-way communication. It's like having someone hang up on you. There's something so terrible about not having closure. It keeps wounds open for such an unnecessarily long time.
What do you think allows for good good-byes?