My last Sunday in my congregation was May 31st. Technically (and really) it was my last day as a pastor there, although (truth be told) I haven't quite moved everything out of my office yet. Some things happen suddenly, and other things take more time, it seems. I had meant to be done earlier, but it turned out that there were things hiding under things, and the books and papers multiplied while I wasn't looking, and there were the unintended pauses while I remembered, and said goodbye, again.
I have been called to another congregation, in another state, some distance away from the state where I live now. They have asked me questions and I have asked them questions, and we have visited with one another and even begun to dream, a little. I now have a (still mostly empty) apartment, and three boxes of my books have arrived at the church. So I have a place, although I am not there yet.
I went to church on Sunday, and enjoyed sitting in the pew with my mother, singing hymns and listening to someone else's sermon (which was good, by the way, and I'm not just saying that). I enjoyed it, but I had this sort of uncomfortable realization that I missed the feeling I have when I am leading worship and preaching, and then just afterwards. It's a hard feeling to put my finger on, exactly. I have worshipped with them, and together we have borne witness to the truth. It feels a little like how I imagine the conductor of an orchestra might feel.
I have been on vacation before, and technically that is what this is: a few weeks of vacation before I begin again. But it feels different somehow. I am between congregations. My old congregation is not my congregation any more. I realized on Sunday how much of my identity has become bound up in the rhythm of my week. I am not sure this is entirely a good thing. It is not bad to find purpose and meaning in my work, and to derive satisfaction from a job well done. But I wondered on Sunday if I need it a little too much, and if the between time is a good break, to help me to remember to receive and to be.