Twenty-six years ago today I was ordained to the priesthood (that is, ‘the order of priesthood that I didn’t renounce last summer’). Twenty-six years ago, Nate was two, Si had not yet made his outward appearance, Pippa had not yet gleamed in anyone’s eye, and Margaret and I had been married just four years. (Were we ever married only four years? That’s hard to imagine.)
Over those years I have served in New Haven, Durham (NC), St Petersburg, Princeton (and New Brunswick), Evanston, in Blogaria and other digital realms, and now in Glasgow (and Clarkston) as a pastor, a teacher, a friend, and a listener. As far as I can tell, I haven’t left too many muddy footprints behind for others to clean up (but thank you for helping with what I can’t see). Dear people in everyplace I’ve gone have trusted me and opened their lives to share with me, in ways that reach further than just the bounds of shared interests or coincident sentiments: not just pals, but sharers spiritual and carnal as well in a sort of transfusion of life and truth. That’s a bigger offering than I’m equipped for living up to, and yet I have been forgiven for my shortcomings, my inattention, my short-sightedness, my stubbornness, and — well, it would be self-indulgent to extend a litany of my limitations. My sisters and brothers have offered me grace upon grace, for which I will always give thanks.
Morning will not gild the skies here for another hour or two, but in the darkness before dawn’s promised light that grace sustains me, and if priesthood consists in anything more than charades in outlandish robes, it consists in receiving and honouring and passing along ever further the gifts of trust and love and forgiveness that come through you all, from a source distant and intimate — a receiving and honouring and sharing that knows no end. Who could ask for more?