As I catch up with posting my poems on this blog, here’s one that I am especially eager to get “out there.” It was written on the day that my dear friend announced that he was resigning as our senior pastor. I had known for a couple of days that this was coming. I knew it was going to be painful. I knew that my friend would have other duties on that Sunday. It was Mother’s Day. This day was not all about him. In his typical humble fashion, he carried off his duties for the morning with graciousness. Then, at the end of the service, after he had concluded by announcing his resignation, I and the other elders stood with him and his wife on the stage and prayed for them. The tears came at last — I was close enough to see. And since I know what lead up to this resignation, it was especially painful for me. Here and there, my friend made strategic errors as a senior pastor. WHO DOESN’T?! But any such errors were dwarfed by his faithfulness to God, by all he had put in motion to make our church a place where shepherding and spiritual growth really happen. Let’s just say that two years of extremely painful personal circumstances were exacerbated by the pandemic and a handful of implacable opponents who made my friend their lightning rod.
My pastor’s benediction that day was the old Anglican “Go into the world in peace….” That afternoon, I took a long walk. This poem came to mind as I walked. Here’s how I introduced it on Facebook:
This poem was the fruit of a tearful Sunday walk. It refers to real friends and real expectations. We live now in a long, painful beginning. Someday, that beginning will have reached its end, in terms of time and purpose. For now, “Go into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good.”
Do you see the hope? It’s real. There’s something about selflessness that reminds me: Jesus triumphed over the grave. When a brother acts like Jesus, I’m reminded of what Jesus’ actions have put in motion. “Have courage. Hold on to what is good.”