A Good Goodbye

Weekly Reflection, Friday, May 20

By: David May, Rector

The Gospel readings in these recent Sundays of the season of Easter all come from what is sometimes called ‘The Farewell Discourse’ of the gospel according to John. Jesus, after sharing a last meal with his disciples, is saying goodbye. But what his friends can’t quite know is that it is a goodbye that will bring a new beginning for his life with them and with us.

Goodbyes are hard. But Jesus stays put with his disciples and doesn’t turn away from their questions of what will be next without him. He doesn’t turn away from the loss that goodbyes bring.

Goodbyes are hard. But they are so important. Staying put with each other as we say goodbye lays hands of blessing on all that has gone before. Staying put with each other as we say goodbye confirms that what has gone before was true and good and can’t be taken away. If we just slide out a side door without saying goodbye, it inevitably casts doubt on what went before.

Jesus shows us what a good goodbye is. The kind of goodbye that makes way for a new beginning. So that is what we are trying to do this Sunday in saying a good goodbye to Eleanor as she retires from the active ministry of our parish. It’s what we owe a good friend and pastor: to let her know that she and our life together have mattered, and that can’t be taken away. It’s how she will be equipped to go forth from here in peace.

And a good goodbye matters just as much for all of the rest of us too. This good goodbye is how we walk the path that Jesus walked as his time with his friends was ending. It’s how we stay healthy by honoring what has been and make way for the next new beginning. Good goodbyes are what make new beginnings possible.

So, please plan to come to church this Sunday for Eleanor. But also for the life of our parish and for the new beginning that will come. Come share a good goodbye.