On Memorial Day, my wife and I hosted a going away party for a family from her church. We fired up the grill and she had invited many families who had relationship with our friends that are moving away. We planned for 100 and think we ended up with between 70-80 people when it was all said and done. I ran the grill for the first part of the afternoon and we had burgers, turkey burgers, sausages and hot dogs. I put something on twitter with the hashtag #grillmaster. My wife thought I was being a little conceited, but I made note that I put #grillmaster, not #THEgrillmaster. However you look at it, it was a great afternoon.
Due to a job change, this family is relocating to Illinois. My wife and I have become friends with them and they have definitely made a mark at their church, where they have filled many roles – VBS helpers, Drama Camp workers, small group leaders and many more. While I am not involved actively in their church, I know what a vital role volunteers fill in children’s and youth ministry. They will be missed on both a personal and ministry level.
Yesterday was just one chance for many in the church to say thank you and farewell. We stopped mid-afternoon for a prayer circle with them to ask God’s blessing on their relocation. I really liked the approach Michelle (the wife) had in saying goodbye. She said, “I’ll say ‘see you later,’ not ‘goodbye.'”
While they will be moving out-of-state, we are connected by something larger than just our geographic location. We belong to God’s kingdom. While we wish they weren’t moving, we also know that the kingdom is larger than where we live and we know that relationship will remain. As plans are already in the works to connect with them after they move, we also know that we’ll have all of eternity to hang out together. And I won’t even have to run the grill.