“I never liked saying good-bye; I’ve had to say enough ‘good-byes’ in my life.” That is what my grandmother told me when I asked her why she always just hung up the phone without ever saying “so long” or “bye” or “see you later.” I was a teenager and did not really understand how many good-byes one can say in a lifetime.
Saying good-bye can be easy. If you are ready for someone or something to go; to bid them farewell takes little effort. But when someone or something you have loved and cherished, or simply needed or got used to goes, especially suddenly, it can be gut wrenching to bid them farewell. That is one of the reasons that grief groups are so important. They help us process the loss and help us to eventually accept what seems totally unacceptable.
Looking Back, Moving Forward, Growing Deeper was our Stewardship Theme this year. It seems to encompass how we live our lives as well. We look back and remember, we make decisions that move us in a direction we want to go, and then when we pay attention to it all, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, others and God. We grow deeper as we let go. We let go of our preconceived notions, our prejudices, our “shoulds and oughts.” Spiritual maturity is not about gaining but about letting go. It is not so much about addition as it is subtraction. Spiritual practices, for instance, have to do with letting go: fasting – letting go of food; alms giving – letting go of money; meditation – letting go of thoughts, etc. To grow deeper as an individual and as a congregation means letting go. It can be scary. It can make us sad. Saying good-bye to the predictable and the familiar can be both. It causes us to grieve.
God is calling us into the future. And the only sure thing is that God is there already. Everything else is uncertain. But we are not saved by certainty. We are saved by faith.
Eph. 1:16 “I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.”
Pr. Bob Albing