What makes for a good good-bye?

Rectors come and rectors go. How do you make the going good? That is the question that Mary C. Lindberg asks in Separation Anxiety, an essay on the blog of the Alban Institute. She writes:

Pastors say good-bye to congregations. Sometimes our good-byes are timely and sweet; sometimes they are jarring and painful. But as we hear the click of the front door of God’s house and stand on the sidewalk, we face a unique journey of grief.

In our ministries, we brushed up against holiness; so do we now, in our good-byes. Now we must pull apart the strands of self and role, individual and community. Now we must confront regrets, confusion, and dislocation. Now we must figure out where and who God is at this juncture in our lives.

But before we step out, God invites us in—into Word and Sacrament, into relationships, into our offices, and into our emotions about leaving. Within all these areas we look for answers to the big question we suddenly face: What makes a good good-bye?

Do you have an answer for Lindberg’s question?

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