“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
- Meister Eckhart, medieval German theologian, philosopher and mystic
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
That's all I can say after the touching farewell reception for me last Sunday. It feels like wind in my sails, encouragement to keep doing what is sometimes a difficult ministry of successive transitions. As I've mentioned to many of you, it is clear to me that Spirit called me into interim ministry and I have learned over the years that when spirit calls it is best to say yes. Just ask Jonah.
So this is my official thank you to all of you who have sent me cards, who have offered a kind word, and who have been in collaboration with me in the ministry of Plymouth Church.
It is possible that there is no greater spiritual practice than that of gratitude. Meister Eckhart said it over 600 years ago and it was true before him and to this day. There is something about the original blessing of creation and its goodness that continues as an energetic thread throughout all life and time. There is a deep inherent goodness in life and it is faithful and life giving to feel that and acknowledge that on a regular basis.
That even includes the bittersweet time of endings and goodbyes. It is a good time to acknowledge the goodness of what we have known even as it is time to let go and make room for the next goodness. So, this Sunday both Jane Anne and I will engage with the congregation during worship in a ritual of passage, a formal time of release as your pastors at Plymouth Church. We will give thanks for our time together and mutually ask for forgiveness for any mistakes we have made. We will make the statement of faith that we trust that both our coming and our going is part of a larger goodness. And we will offer encouragement for each other in our next chapters of ministry and life.
At the end of this month, our relationship will change. Pastor Marta will be on the job on March 1st to step into the role of Associate Pastor to teach and preach and to offer spiritual support and care. Neither Jane Anne nor myself will be available to you in the role of pastor from that point onward and that includes weddings, memorials, and baptisms. We have had our Plymouth season with you and a new season is arriving.
I encourage you all to come to worship (9am or 11am) if you can this Sunday to hear Jane Anne preach and to say farewell with gratitude. And, I encourage you to be in worship on Sunday, March 5th to heartily welcome Pastor Marta.
It has been a privilege and am I grateful.