I’ve been saying “beyond words” a lot of late as I’ve found myself unable to fully articulate the privilege, honor and grace it has been to minister with the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor these last 20 months. As I said in my sermon on Sunday, this time changed and opened me, released and called me. I am grateful that we gave ourselves the gift of time for a good goodbye, taking time for conversations to reflect on what we have learned and wonder on as this season ends.
I am looking forward to my own interim time to take it all in as I give myself the gift of time to walk and write, write and walk through the next few months. My time here instilled and deepened in me a call and passion to be with communities in “interim times” and I look forward to another opportunity to learn and minister with another community at some point in the future. But for now, this interim time to reflect on all I have learned and how it has changed me.
20 months ago the children folded 100 boats that they passed out to the congregation as we began our interim journey together. We heard a story of a small band of disciples who went with Jesus across a stormy and tumultuous sea to the other side of the sea. Along the way, they discovered Jesus in the boat. (Mark 4:35-41).
In a time that invited me to put down all my well-made plans and treasured assumptions, I had to instead lean in and together with the congregation and church leaders find our way through this stormy time. And while none of the work is ever fully “complete”, this time at its best Opened us to the New that is God – Opened us to the discovery of one another, and Jesus here in, between, beside us all.
Every Sunday this year I have ended our time of worship together with the same benediction, imprinted on one of these little boats as a blessing for the congregation’s future adventuring with Todd in this season of new beginnings.
The poet Amanda Gorman reminds us,
When day comes, we step out of the shade,
Aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it,
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
(Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”)
May God grant you the grace never to sell yourself short,
Grace to risk something big for the sake of something good,
Grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth,
And too small for anything but Love.
(William Sloane Coffin, Jr.)
May the Love of God
Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit
Burn brightly within you and go ever before you
From this time forth, and forever and ever more.