Glory in the Goodbye

This past Sunday, we at our church received the news that our worship pastor will be leaving his position as our worship leader, and his wife leaving her position in the children’s ministry, sometime over the next few weeks.

Our worship pastor assures us it’s not because of any kind of sin done either by them or to them. It’s because God has placed into their hearts the knowledge that he and his wife are to go and be still for a season, and then… it’s foggy after that. The classic pushing-out-of-the-nest to usher in whatever comes next.

It’s going to be hard for me, because we’re very close friends. “Hey, I’m not dead yet,” he likes to quip, and they’re also not moving away. But still, this will be hard. His exuberant voice echoing through our church hallways during the week, singing silly songs, is probably what I’ll miss most.

Knowing this news only days before it was announced to the church, I asked our worship pastor on Friday if he’d like me to paint live on Sunday, even though I didn’t know yet what I would create. He smiled and said he would love it.

During worship, purple and blue ran down the sides of my canvas. I thought about how many times our worship leader has invited us to go boldly into God’s throne room to worship Him… and my long frays of violet became the torn edges of the temple veil, signifying our continual access to God’s holy presence. 

The Lord then prompted me to add overlapping circles and squares in gold metallic paint, but I didn’t know what the shapes meant. As I started to add them, the Lord told me that the two very different shapes– the square and the circle– represent the two very different paths we are about to take: the path of our worship leader and his family, and the path of the rest of our church. But we still all carry the same Gospel– we are one Church. The circles and squares overlap, continuing to work together in harmony and radiance.

We might think that we’re physically separated when a fellow minister says goodbye, but in reality we still operate in the Kingdom side by side– in parallel. Through tears, I thanked God for this assurance, this prayer Jesus uttered for us, his disciples, to love one another.

Veils will continue to be torn as we make the invisible God visible to the world, transparently playing our part to open more and more eyes to the glory of the Lord.

May God be glorified in all we do and all we say, as we love and honor one another.

I gave this painting to our senior pastor as a reminder of how God sees us.

And my church is giving words of encouragement, thanks, and affirmation to our worship pastor and his wife, as they walk into the next thing God has for them.
(“Pillars,” Acrylic and oil on canvas, 22 x 28 inches)