Letter From the Pastor – Fr. David’s Last Dialogue (January 26, 2020)
Last weekend’s litany of Goodbyes was very touching for me. I’m very grateful and the words Thank You do not really express the depth of the sentiment I’m experiencing. One of the most frequently asked questions I am asked is what am I going to miss the most after I leave here. And of course the answer is the people. It is easy to understand missing individual people because that is very human. Yet there is a deeper answer — more accurately, the community of believers.
I’ve been told several times about life in the back third of the Church on Sunday morning and warned how I don’t even want to know what takes place back there on any given Sunday. Well lets change places and talk about the view from the front, that is the view from the sanctuary. (Perhaps if I were to write another column that would be a great title, The View from the Sanctuary.) Sitting in the sanctuary week after week I’ve certainly seen something else happening. People are praying together as a community week after week. In the book of Ezra, Nehamiah gathers the people after the Exile, and builds a platform, assembling the entire community: men, women, and children. Ezra, the Priest, begins reading from the Book of the Law from morning until evening. And the people listen. And with a resounding Amen, they proclaim, all that the Lord has said, we will do.
That memory frequently comes back to me as I sit before people who are listening to the Word of God. Here we are thousands of years later, yet we still set aside our busy schedules to listen to words written generations before us. After all this time, we still believe this proclaimed word to be applicable to us today. Moreover, we actually claim this to be the Word of God. The themes and truths our ancestors desired to convey are just as true for us in a technological age. I doubt any of the people who wrote and redacted the wisdom of the Old Testament would have thought their works would be read out loud two thousand or even three thousand years into the future.
Similarly, the profundity of Eucharist is always before me as well. Watching how God feeds people and the expressions in peoples’ eyes as they come forward to receive Christ in the Eucharist. Some are hungry. Some are happy. Some are desperate. Others are insecure. Many can receive Christ in the Eucharist but struggle with trusting God, living the mission, or having a deeper conversation with the Divine. Some feel unworthy, while others know this is the strength they need to get them through another week. The uniqueness of internals of a person are just as unique as their externals. And through it all I’m blessed to watch how God is present to people through the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Sitting in my presider’s chair right after communion, I’m frequently amazed how God feeds us and ultimately how God is with us. That is the promise made to us in the end of the New Testament. Know that I am with you always until the end of the world. Every week, as we take time to listen to God’s word and share the Eucharistic Meal, it is really a profound experience. This is definitely something I will miss.
Last year a parishioner was leaving Saint Agnes, moving out of Kentucky. The last line of her letter was so applicable: Until our paths cross again, I’ll see you in the Eucharist.