There are words in the Episcopal Book of Occasional Services written to tell us how to say goodbye. And that is good as we gather together this Sunday to wish Father David well in retirement. Good as I imagine words may come difficultly as emotions play their part in our last Sunday together.
We have much to be thankful for. Father David's time with us have been years of health, mutuality, and growth in ministry. We have fed the hungry and helped clothe those in need. We have sheltered the homeless and supported those in recovery. We have stood as witness on the Arthur Ashe Boulevard for what is right and kind and just. We have actively listened to God's call to us as individuals and as a community. We have worked to bring the kingdom closer.
And this will not stop. We are stronger and more confident for Father David's presence and guidance. We will miss him and he us.
As Rev. Dorothy preached on Sunday referencing the reading from James. Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. Father David, I realize that the path for life’s journey brought many of us to this intersection. Many loving hearts that those around us never seemed to understand found that understanding here. Many who just hoped to have a chance to belong and serve learned the epitome of service is rooted in the hermeneutic of love.
Though most of us possess the ability to see -- many have learned to do so in a deeper and fuller way. Whether we showed up high maintenance or low, complaining much or little, possessing much or little, whether we showed up with a camera looking for a place to belong, the atmosphere of welcome greeted us. And Father David in the days ahead may that amazing grace of welcome go with you as you keep giving because I have come to realize, that is just who you are.
The heart of the matter really is the matter of the heart. Transformation is the fruit that comes from following that wisdom.