Will You Dance
Music in the background, an extended hand, inviting eyes, one person says, “Will you dance?” Lovely, but dancing takes hard work, too. The question for both dancers is always, “Will you dance?” Will you risk it? Will you try? Especially when a brand new dance is beginning.
Congregations and pastors could be imagined as dancers, too. And you are about to change partners. So, before you begin a fresh dance with a new pastor, allow me to think aloud about what went well these past five years. I do believe we learned to dance together, as pastor and congregation, though we didn’t expect our dance time to be this long! Thank you for the effort you put forth. I’m a different person as I leave. For the better.
What went well? First, you graciously made room for my gifts as a leader. You let me be me. You saw what I could do, and what I couldn’t. You let me create. You let me preach and teach. On my part, I learned how to defer to your strong tradition of group decision-making by elected leaders. I learned just how many “go-to” people there were among you. Many.
Next, I joined your programs as they were, especially the recently accepted challenge of Mission in a Changing World (changed, locally, to Together And Growing (TAG)). Together, we made attitude, programatic, and building changes. We deliberated, collaborated, and worked very hard. We also, mercifully, experienced the presence of God’s Spirit in multiple ways. Some, breathtakingly beautiful.
God brought new children and families our way, wonderful adults and new leaders. God, also, generously, gave us more music and art, more Bible study, and new ministry connections outside our walls. God, kindly, gave us unexpected monetary gifts with which to make building and property changes. And we did. We worked hard to faithfully receive all that God gave.
And third, we accepted, even had fun with, our differences. I didn’t try to persuade you to “think like Lutherans”. And, you were patient with me as I relied heavily on our Clerk of Session, and other articulate Presbyterians, to understand denominational polity, traditions and commitments. Thank you for this kindness. My world is bigger, because of you.
As we start this last month together, let’s agree that major life changes, even when we see them approaching, always come slightly before we feel ready. Yet, we can be hopeful and intentional to keep looking forward, even as we say our appreciative goodbye’s and mutual well wishes.
~ Pastor Sara