A priest, a pastor, and a minister walk into a bar. Actually, it was a nice restaurant. There we had a last supper with our friend and colleague, a rabbi who has served as the interim at Congregation Emanu El in Houston, Texas. He’s the one in the photo below with a halo (i.e., the spotlight shining on him). May the Lord’s face continue to shine on him as he returns to New York. We, the heads of faith communities around Rice University, will miss him deeply. It was sad and joyful at the same time.
Farewells can be hard. One year ago, my family and I had just arrived in Texas. We had said goodbye to wonderful friends and a great church in Minnesota. This week someone else is doing the same thing with his family — heading out from South Carolina to move here and join our staff at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. Later this summer, a priest will say goodbye to his congregation in Pennsylvania, then he will be welcomed by my previous congregation in Minnesota. Also to be welcomed will be, God willing, a newly ordained transitional deacon, who, having left her seminary community as a graduate, will come to Palmer as our third full-time member of the clergy. There will be lots of comings and goings, including, of course, the arrival of a new rabbi for the synagogue by Rice University.
So it seems appropriate for this week’s haiku theme to be farewells. Some are known far in advance. Others are surprises. Some are filled with tears of joy. Others are filled with tears of pain. Whatever the case may be, write about it in one verse of poetry with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. Mine was inspired by theologian Jürgen Moltmann:
“In [ev’ry] end a
new beginning lies hidden.”
This I believe too.