Sunday, May 10, 2015
Seven Whole Days
How I wish you could have heard the choir of St. John's in the Village, led by Gordon King (who trusted me to chant the Great Litany the first Sunday in Lent), lead us in this hymn, a wonderful setting of the profoundly beautiful poem by George Herbert.
Today was the last day of my field placement at St. John's. The friends who have been so good to me there said good bye each in his or her own way--a kindly word, a "well done good and faithful servant" from Father Cross, who has given me helpful and supportive guidance throughout my time there; generous support from Father Alan, the interim pastor, a warm handshake from the Sexton, and--more of this later.
But most of all St. John's gave me its goodbye by being St. John's. In the congregation one last time as a layperson, I saw so much love invested in the liturgy. My mentor, Deacon Denise LaVetty, showed me one last time the proper way to unveil the vessels at the altar with a magnificent flourish, the thurifer wafted enough smoke for a Royal Wedding with an insouciance that belied his considerable skill, the Interim Pastor gave a moving, heartfelt sermon, and the music was everything one expects from St. John's--perfection. (Seriously, the choir did Thomas Tallis's If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments in a soaring counterpoint that was inexpressibly beautiful).
And then, afterward, the parish gave me a wonderful gift to wish me well--a deacon's stole, in white, and accented beautifully, with my name and the parish's forever linked:
I will never forget the kindness and warm welcome I have received from my friends at St. John's. The parish and its people will always have a special place in my heart.
And when--at this writing, less than seven whole days--I am ordained, I will carry them with me.