Being old enough to get a check from Obama and having been at my present church long enough, I joined the ranks of the retired effective about 9 pm this past Sunday. This means that for the first time in three decades, I do not have any regular preaching responsibilities nor any group of people for whom I have pastoral responsibilities.
While this may change down the road a bit, it does feel a bit different.
Resigning a church without going to another one makes for some interesting emotions, especially since I have always moved at least 100 miles from one church to another (as they say, so you can stay one jump ahead of the pursuing sheriff) which meant that I could not easily maintain pastoral relationships even if I desired.
I've had predecessors who could do what I cannot and will not do, pastor three churches at the same time: the one they're at, the one they just left, and the one they desire to have in the future. I'll do just one at a time, thank you.
I suppose I'm like most pastors and always look at the calendar by Sundays, since that is the biggie for the brethren. No longer, in a sense.
I don't know where I will go to church this coming Sunday, an odd feeling, since all of the churches I served have expected me to be present on Sundays. Not this Sunday, though we will go somewhere.
This Sunday I will ride to church with my wife. I could probably count the times I have done that in the past 30 years on my fingers. Maybe she could chauffeur me.
I think I'll shoot for the back pew although I've been sternly warned by the party mentioned above not to cross my arms and smugly look at the preacher as if to say, "Let's see what you've got, hotshot."
We will see.