It happened again today.  I drove up to one of my favorite cafes in a nearby town and was shocked to find it closed.  I don’t mean closed today.  I mean closed forever.  But they knew me there!  They knew I liked those vanilla creamers and my eggs poached hard!  I sat with the engine running, hungry and caffeine-deprived, wondering where I would go for breakfast.  Why didn’t they warn me?  I would have come by to say good-bye.

My favorite grocery store closed a few years ago, but at least they announced it ahead of time.  I was so crestfallen by the announcement, I wrote a letter of thanks to the manager and a “Prayer for the Unemployed” for the employees.  It was still sad, but at least I got to say good-bye in my way.

You see a lot of boarded up businesses these days.  Behind those sad facades are the lives and livelihoods of people who once made those storefronts a life purpose, even a passion.  I think whenever a business closes, they should have a going away party for their patrons and employees.  But instead, all I ever see are those forlorn marquees with the words, “Out of business”.

When my church was in its last years, I used to wonder what would happen if we closed.  Would the “C & E People” show up on Christmas Eve and find the parking lot empty and the church dark?  Would that be how they found out we ran out of money to pay the pastor?

If your church is planning a closure, give the neighbors a chance to say good-bye.  Throw a party.  Sure, maybe you’re sad and embarrassed and heartbroken, and there’s not a shred of confetti in your heart.  But throw a party anyway.  God brought some people together at some place to do some wonderful thing for some time.  Isn’t that worth celebrating?

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