Today we’re embarking on a unique phase of our worship life together. Today we begin our transition work in earnest.
I have four Sundays left in this pulpit, and my preaching task is as follows: to say goodbye, to tell you how much I love you and thank you for our time together, and to equip you for your transition time in any way I can.
We’re going to tackle those in reverse order over the next few weeks, using our lectionary scriptures to guide us in those tasks.
So let’s talk about Mary and Martha and what we can learn from them, not just for our everyday lives, but specifically for this unique season of transition St. Thomas and St. Luke’s are entering right now.
To do that, let’s start by talking about what clergy transition is like for a parish.
Transition is all kinds of things.
It’s exciting as the priest and parish look forward to the novelty of change.
It’s anxiety-producing as we face an unknown future and wonder how to tackle life without each other’s steady presence and familiar patterns.
It’s awkward as we try to decide what to say to each other—how much truth-telling is helpful and how much is just self-indulgent and divisive?
It’s full of grief as we say goodbye.
It’s simply full of emotion as we rehearse old grievances and old joys.
We give thanks for everything we’ve accomplished together and the ways in which we were so well-matched, and we mourn the goals we didn’t achieve and the ways we couldn’t fulfill each other.
It’s a holy mess, to my way of thinking, a sacred disaster, an exhausting miracle and a blessed train wreck.
It can bring out the worst in us if we’re not careful, but it will bring out the best in us if we allow it. Continue reading