Take up your cross and follow me ...
One of the great themes throughout the Bible is that of ‘leaving’.
Adam and Eve (archetype of all humans) leaving the garden; Abraham leaving home and land; Moses and the Hebrew slaves leaving Egypt; disciples leaving nets (their fragile security); Jesus leaving the earth to ascend back to the Father.
My time to leave you and the parish has come (so this is my final) as I tread on the path of retirement.
When I arrived, I placed a cross on the altar at St. James. It has been a focal point for me as I have presided at the Eucharist. A constant reminder of why I have stood at this altar and others: I stand as a sinner, forgiven by Jesus. I stand to daily take up my cross and follow Christ. I stand as a reminder that even in suffering, I will abide in Christ. When I leave, I will take up that cross from the altar, and in its place, put my church keys as a symbol of leaving you and the community. I leave you on Advent Sunday, the beginning of a season that has at its centre the simple but powerful prayer of ‘Maranatha’ which means ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’ I used to naively pray this prayer to escape this world thinking that if
Jesus comes again, all our problems will be solved. Such escapist thinking is not congruent with the Gospel. It is not taking up the cross and following Jesus.
Advent Sunday is further into the winter season and with Covid19 cases currently rising, I will be saying ‘goodbye’ without having any shared food after the service.
Thank you for all your help and support during my time with you.
May God bless you as you continue to take up your cross and follow Christ.