Sunday, June 27, 2010

Here I Am

Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you're my God

This morning I sat in a strange sanctuary, singing these familiar words, as tears streamed down my face. The May Queen watched, confused. She snuggled in beside me.

Last week we bid our farewell to our congregation here. There was a big goodbye BBQ, and a final service. It was a bittersweet celebration of our time there and a sending off to our new home and calling. During the service last week I sang with the praise team for the last time, and looked out over the faces of the congregation that has been my family these last five years.

Don't you just hate goodbyes? We had a weekend full of them. It was hard. But today was even harder.

My husband flew to Michigan on Wednesday and is already a part of our new congregation.

But I am still here.

Our national church body has rules. Once the pastor has said his (or her) farewells, the family needs to leave as well. I understand the rules, and how they allow the congregation to move on, etc. Prolonged goodbyes are hard.

But I also don't understand the rules. Not only was that congregation my husband's job, it was MY congregation. The youth volunteers I organized, the kids I led in song at VBS, the praise team that I sang with (and laughed with) each week, the women with whom I studied the bible and prayed. My friends. Like any family things weren't always perfect. But there was grace and much love.

I nearly didn't go to any church this morning. I had a bevy of excuses, not the least of which was that as a pastor's wife I don't ever get to just decide "I feel like sleeping in today." I also had an open house to clean for.

But it was Sunday. I knew I needed to be in worship. The body of Christ is larger than one congregation. I picked a church, and a service, the night before. I had a hard time sleeping last night, and lay in bed this morning praying.

And I got up, got dressed, and went to worship.

It was harder than I imagined. But I showed up, and I'm glad I did. The sermon was on obedience, and quite timely for me, as I struggle to obediently follow the call we've heard from God.

I knew I needed to worship. It wasn't an easy worship this morning. Not at all. It was a broken hallelujah, to be sure.

But... I was there to worship, to bow down, to say that you're my God...


Kat said...

Oh, I am so sorry.

Like you, I can (partially) understand your church's rules, but also it must feel like you've been abandoned by those you need most right now. I am so sorry.

When the priest that Todd and I had grown so close to early in our marriage retired Todd and I were SO SAD. It was difficult going to church and missing our friend's awesome sermons. But we also knew what our favorite priest would be telling us. "You don't go to church for the people there. The priest who preaches. Or even the beautiful choir. You go to praise and worship God." So we went. We knew it was right, but it still was hard. The people are SO MUCH of a church. And that church becomes your family.

Again, I am so sorry. I can imagine how difficult this is.

Kyla said...

Aww, I'm sad for you...and also proud of you. You did the right thing even though it wasn't easy. It was literally a sacrifice of praise today for you. I hope your new congregation will be a wonderful place of fellowship for you.

kayerj said...

You are so brave . . . and such a good example for the May Queen. I imagine it was difficult for her as well. I hope your home sells quickly so you and the May Queen can move onto your new life. I'll keep you in my prayers.

In our church we have a lay clergy, or unpaid. They change the bishop(pastor)of our ward (congregation) about every five years. The congregation expects it and things just roll along as usual following the change in administration. After the bishop is released from administrative duties he is called to serve in some other capacity. (Sunday School, youth programs, etc.)

Chrissy said...

I admire you even more now that I already did. I hope things get easier for you. Goodbyes are so difficult. :(