From our Pastor:
The medieval theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart said that the most real kind of prayer is the prayer of gratitude.
For the past three years I have stood on the Facing Bench, most Sundays, and offered to Durham Meeting a message (a number of them have been published here in our Durham Friends Newsletter). Most of my life, before coming to Durham, was spent in preparation — in getting ready to be a part of Durham Friends Meeting. There were years of life experience, nearly a decade as a Hospice Chaplain, and nine years of post-graduate theological study. Once I arrived — quite quickly — almost immediately, I could say: I am at home, at home in the parsonage, at home spiritually in Durham Meeting, at home in Maine.
Now that it is time for me to retire, I’d like to say a little about what it’s been like to prepare and to rise in Meeting for Worship to offer a message. I’d like to say something about where these messages have come from.
The clearest thing that I can say about vocal ministry — the Sunday messages — is that each of them has been a surprise … a gift. I’d sit down to prepare, thinking: “I’ll say this or that …” only to be surprised, again and again, by a completely unforeseen direction taken. Once mid-message I even found myself suddenly wondering what the astronauts felt when they gained God’s perspective, seeing the whole Earth — as one. How amazing!
Many of you have heard me say that after eight or so months I had really said all that I had to say. There was a time of learning to be willing to have no idea what the next message would be; a time of learning to wait and to listen. And, of course, to pray. So I am full of gratitude … and coming to understand that it is from the deep well of our Worship together that I have been drawing the spiritual sustenance to rise and offer a message. Our covered Worship together is where the messages come from.
And so, during the transition in our Meeting, I invite us all to enter a time of being willing to wait, to listen and to pray together as we are led toward a future that will no doubt be full of surprises … and, of course, gratitude.