We Part Ways Physically, But Not in Spirit

Cathedral Church of St. Luke

Eleanor PriorFor everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: …
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; …
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;…
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …
a time to seek, and a time to lose;…
a time to tear, and a time to sew;…

My dear friends in Christ,

It is hard to write this today, as it is the last Epistle cover that I will write. Knowing that it is so difficult to encapsulate all of the last four years in just a few words, these verses above and below, excerpted from Ecclesiastes 3: 1- 15, capture so much, so many of the ways in which our lives have touched each other. So many of the ways that the Spirit has led us to go both deeper and broader in unforeseen circumstances.

I thank each and every one of you for the courage you have shown, in your own lives, and in this community. The great openness to share your gifts, and share your vulnerabilities. If we think of the cross as the vertical and the horizontal, the deep and the broad, and the heart where the two meet, then that is the place of transformation. That is the place where sharing both our gifts and our vulnerabilities has opened us to the transformation that emerges as friendships, shared ministries, greater understanding, as well as to a sense of continuous unfolding. Our faith leads us to a knowledge of eternal unfolding into love. So, though it is sad for me to leave, there is also a sense of calling to live in Christ’s love in a new place. And, St. Luke’s will forever hold a treasured place in my heart.

It is here that I met a generous mentor and colleague in Ben. It has been an enormous privilege to minister here; to meet you each where you are, and to see how the Spirit is moving in your lives. I have been welcomed in and allowed to grow, and taught and forgiven and loved by so many it is impossible to name you all. I have shared in so much joy, even in the midst of turbulent times. And have witnessed and traveled with others through the turbulent times of individual lives, and of the world.

As we part ways physically, but not in spirit, I am brought back to Ecclesiastes:

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. … I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.Thank you for being with me, for loving me. Let us go forth to love and serve in the name of Jesus Christ.

With love,

Canon Pastor, The Reverend Eleanor Prior