Margie’s installation was one of those high points for our congregation. She and her committee and team of helpers put together a moving service, a great reception and the dance that moved her from metaphor to dancing floor. Whew!
Westport was also very present at Barbara Fast’s installation last night in E. Greenwich, RI. Debra Haffner offered a warm invocation, John Mason did a masterful job of bringing greetings from Westport, reviewing the birth of Barbara’s ministry, moving from pew to pulpit. I was privileged to deliver a heart-felt sermon, looking down from Barbara’s pulpit into her glistening eyes, as she sat in the pew, again — first seat in the front row. Whew!
Jamie and Ed put together two very moving services to celebrate this year’s Coming of Age class of twenty-three of our young people who are making the million-mile journey from childhood into young adulthood. On Saturday night we watched each of them light a candle and listen to their parents tell them what it was that they loved most about them – and then each of them took the microphone and told their parents what they loved and most appreciated about them.
All of us who watched know the long, sometimes difficult journey across that million-mile trek, and we were moved to the depths, ‘where the spirit meets the bone,’ as we witnessed these heart-felt expressions of love, appreciation, admiration and affection. Whew!
Then, again, at the eleven o’clock service on Sunday morning, we came together to celebrate this year’s Coming of Age class, being reminded that it’s not only about those twenty three young people and their parents and grandparents – it’s about that which is at the heart of this faith community, where we were reminded that ‘we are all coming of age throughout our whole lives.’
I felt a deep sense of connection to this coming-of-age process, not only as one of the ministers but as a parent, grandparent and step-parent. I learned a long time ago that we have two hands so that we can hold on with one hand while letting go with the other.
One of the parents talked about the thread that connects her to her son and always will, and that reminded me of a poem by E. B. White which I was able to recite impromptu as my prayer at the end of that special service. He called his poem Natural History:
“The spider, dropping down from twig/ Unwinds a thread of her devising,/a thin premeditated rig/To use in rising./ And all that journey down through space/In cool descent, and loyal-hearted/She builds a ladder to the place/From which she started./ Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,/In spider’s web a truth discerning,/Attach one silken strand to you,/For my returning.”
We’re like that spider, always on a journey ‘down through space’ and time, always building a ladder to climb back to ‘the place from which we started.’ We did that at Margie’s installation; and letting go with affection, which we did at Barbara’s installation. I appreciate the sense of connection we’re creating as a community, just as I appreciate the sense of connection I have with family and friends. I wish you a Thanksgiving that brings you to the place from which you started, to touch the gratitude that makes the holiday sacred.