This article will be published in Church of the Redeemer's newsletter next week.
Gosh—my last Redeemer News article ever. That's big. I remember the last few weeks of college, going around campus with my friends saying things like, "This is the last time we'll ever go to Chemistry for Dummies," and "This is the last time we'll ever go to a play here," and "This is the last time I'll ever skip across campus." It got a bit ridiculous, really—-when we were manufacturing things that could be the last time we did them when in fact it was the first time…well, you get the point. We were a bit hysterical at that point. I'm not there yet, but just wait. One Sunday, I'll be in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer and suddenly say, "This is the last time I'll ever dance a jig in Redeemer's Sanctuary," or something.
These endings are important, though, aren't they? We can't just laugh them off or say that it'll all be okay in time. There's a little bit of death when someone leaves a church, clergy or no. It will be okay in time but that's not a lot of comfort in the moment. I've learned from watching Charlie celebrate at funerals that the grief of someone's death is just as necessary to feel as the hope we have in Christ's resurrection. And I do feel grief. In the last five years, I've fallen in love with you. From my first summer when I had no idea what I was doing—-either in youth ministry or in using the copy machine—-to three years ago when I let my sense of justice and youthful excitement run away with me, to the past few months when you've welcomed my daughter with joy. You have made me a priest.
It is not easy to discern a new call. I suppose it smacks of being tired of the old one. Or at least uninterested in it. But that can't be further from the truth. Redeemer is a vibrant place, full of challenge and hope. I can see a fantastic road ahead of you. And I see a smaller path branching off towards UC. I have done what I came here to do—-whether I knew what that was at the beginning or not—-and now it's time to follow the Spirit somewhere else.
Bishop Thompson once said that we're all interims. Certainly the clergy have a habit of leaving, but so, too, do you. It is the community which continues—the Redeemer community and the Christian community. This life we live is beautiful and exciting and heartbreaking. And temporary. "Weeping endures the night, but joy comes in the morning" the Psalmist wrote. We live in the present moment, the olam of the Hebrew Scriptures, the deepness of the now. This is who we are, here and now: broken and beautiful human beings, breathing in the breath of God.
And so my last Redeemer News article ever. If I could leave you with anything it would be the courage to rely on God and to step out of what you know. Deep peace be with you all.