A pastor friend of mine resigned from his congregation. The resignation letter was read to the congregation today. This is sad for any number of reasons. He is a faithful theologian and pastor, always taking care that his theology and his practice are both accurate and loving. He was my father-confessor, and it was very hard to find a good one to begin with. With him resigning, I'm not sure where I'll turn next. He is a good man, and he will succeed at whatever he puts his hand to, but it's sad that, at least for a while, he won't be putting his hand into the guidance of a congregation. The Church needs more men like him.
I'm not going to go into details about why he left, though I will say it wasn't because of ill-will either on his part or on that of the congregation. Nevertheless, it reminded me again of my own resignation and the pain that engendered. Leaving a congregation through resignation is something like going through a divorce: no matter what the reason, you're always leaving something unresolved. It's sort of like that when you take a Call, but less so: you have time to say your goodbyes, time to tie up loose ends, time for your people to get used to the idea. With a resignation, it's just . . . over. I feel bad for him and his family, and I also feel bad for the congregation. They love him, and he loves them, and it's sad that it had to end like this.
Do you ever think about your parents getting old or about something happening to your parents--or, unfortuantely, has something happened to one or both of your parents--and you feel like you've lost something that you'll never get back? That's how I feel today.