Not time, in general; but the sanctuary clock, in particular. Did I pack it up with my office? Am I stealing the church clock (installed when I first got here) that’s informed us all when worship begins and when it’s supposed to end? No, actually, in the middle of the night on April 26, two days before my birthday, the digital clock in the sanctuary seemed to have lept off my office windowwall, hit the seven-foot bookcase below it, shattering glass across the floor, bounced to the three-foot bookcase below it, spewing glass onto the shelves above, and exploded on the floor in a pile of electronics and shards. It must have been quite dramatic, although nobody was here to see it happen.
I’m trying not to find it ominous, but maybe it is fitting. T. S. Eliot loved the concept of time:
“Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.”
We have made many decisions together over the past several years, and there may be the feeling like there could be more to do. A hundred things more, at least. The truth is we have done what we could do together, and I believe it has been good work. We have created new ministries, like our sanctuary resolution shared with congregations throughout Evanston. We have been a beacon of hope with our Black Lives Matter sign and the underlying spiritual work of living into its mandate. We have strengthened this church by refusing to allow individual differences distract our hearts from being ever more the radically welcoming place to which we aspire. There is always more to do, and it will be done. I have that faith.
Eliot ends his poem The Four Quartets saying:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
So here we are, arriving back at the place we started. It was exactly five years ago this week that you called me as your senior minister. We are arriving back at the place we started, a time of transition, a moment to pause and reflect, a time to dream. You are sending me forth as an extension of the love you want to share with the world. I will never forget from where I have come, the people who have influenced my life and ministry, and the love with which I have been sent forth to share the good news of Unitarian Universalism.