My Dear Shepherds,
In these virus-corrupted, socially-distanced months several pastors I’ve known have concluded their ministries without proper farewells. Dave Ward’s last Sunday was Easter, his last sermon to an empty auditorium. But he said he got an unexpected surprise parade of dozens of cars with church families. Another pastor friend, Susan Moody, grieved, “It feels like I am being robbed of some needed closure and celebration of what God has done through me. Celebrating that is really celebrating God and it strengthens me for the next task.”
I thought of these colleagues when I came to the concluding description of Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders:
When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:36-38)
In June, Pastor Jim Keena’s last ...