As much as I dislike the fact, saying hello and goodbye to people, places, and seasons of life seems unavoidable. I am currently lamenting this unwelcome truth because one of those times for me has come. At the end of January, I ended my role as an interim associate minister in a church near my home.
My coming to this church was serendipitous. I met the pastor when I spoke at their women’s retreat and eventually joined the staff. From the beginning, I knew that when the congregation identified and called an ordained person, that would signal my time to leave. Though prepared, I still found the culmination difficult. I don’t like to say goodbye. I don’t like things to end. I don’t like to become uprooted from my place.
Yet, I know well enough that this movement is inevitable and, in the end, actually nurtures my life. Coming helps me become rooted and find my center. Going draws me out into the world and expands me.
In my last sermon, I talked about this phenomenon and wrote a coming and going prayer. We prayed it together, using a finger labyrinth—a beautiful symbol of coming and going. Here is a copy of my prayer. I have been praying it each morning, as I trace the labyrinth, and embrace the purpose of each motion.
The Coming and Going of Life Together
A Finger Labyrinth
A Coming Prayer:
Gracious God, the God who woos me,
draw me by Your Spirit through silence and stillness.
Help me find my way home.
Anchor me in Your love and grace
as I come to Christ in my weakness and
learn from His gentle and humble heart.
Give rest to my soul.
A Going Prayer:
Gracious God, the God who sends me,
lead me by Your Spirit with courage and strength.
Help me find my place in the world.
Fill me with joy from serving you
as I become Christ’s hands and feet and
learn to love as He has loved me.
Give vision to my soul.
Written for Christ the Savior by Beth Booram