Well, H.T. put on a wonderful “leaving bash” for Morag and myself last night. It was humorous, warm, moving and generous in every possible sense of that word. On special occasions my late Father tended to write poems which he insisted on reading! We all groaned but secretly loved them. Well, I guess it’s in my blood and it seems to be in my daughter’s blood too! So, here is a poem I wrote to read last night. I was thinking of what I would want to tell my successor as Parish Minister, or as I liked to remind folk from time to time when everyone was needing kept in order, “Senior Minister,” which bascially means, “The Auld Yin!”
I couldn’t have had a happier evening to mark 11 very fulfilling years. I hope the poem reflects in a tiny even though inadequate way, something of why that has been such a happy and fulfilling time. Anyway, here it is:
A note from your Predecessor
My dear fellow Minister, my chosen successor
Worry not “What would Kenny think?” I’m not your assessor!
But just a few words, I hope you don’t mind
To tell of some things you will most surely find
In what is called by most, “H.T.”
This aptly named place, “Holy Trinity.”
You’ll find the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son
The Holy Spirit helping all to be one
A sense of guilt may soon creep in;
“Should I feel so happy, or is it a sin
to enjoy being a minister every new day,
to those whom God brings across my way?”
You’ll find pearls of great price, blood-bought ones of Christ
Drawn from darkness into marvellous light;
Warmth mixed with kindness, true joy and smiles
Shining through wounds that eclipse yours by miles;
They’ll help you to see the true Face of God
And hug you right in to Love’s truest fold.
You’ll find salve for your woundedness, rest time for tiredness
God helping you know the meaning of wellness
You’ll find space to grow and more fully discover
The God who saw you before your mother
You’ll find truest you, you’ve had no chance to know
As preaching and pastoring to new places go.
You’ll find laughter and loyalty, shed tears at lost dignity
Pains will be shared that will cause you dismay
As you raise empty hands praying, “What can I bring?”
You’ll hear a reply, “ Without me, not one thing!
Go, ask, seek and knock at heaven’s near door
Know your emptiness filled, hear the promise of “more.”
You’ll find old souls of faithfulness, their faith filled with youthfulness
Battling through storms and taking their places
Be amazed as you hear what they may not tell
Of how they were saved and have served long and well
You’ll think to yourself as you’re blessed by their eyes
“Such bright glowing embers…unquenchable fires…”
There are young saints emerging, so say things encouraging
(Not their heads, but your tongue, may sometimes need biting!)
God’s love’s been long-suffering to you and to me
With no patience in heaven where would we be?
Praise each movement Godward in young lives begun
May it not be unseen, let it not go unsung.
You’ll meet mighty prayer warriors, and find gifted leaders
Hearers and doers and generous givers
Folk your superior in all sorts of ways
Who serve to God’s glory and lighten your days
“One Man Band” times now are over and past
Part of the body, you’ll feel freed at last.
You’ll sense yourself often on holiest ground
As Yahweh draws near upon worship’s sound
You’ll meet God in weak places, He’s more where there’s less
In the soil of lack, His Kingdom grows best
You’ll see Jesus kneeling to wash soiled feet
In cafe, in sanctuary and on the street.
Not everyone will clap at all that you do
But they’ll scratch out eyes when ill’s spoken of you
They’ll tell only about the blessing you’re bringing
They’ll speak of you well, your ears will be burning
So,God bless you my fortunate Friend of the King
A chapter is ending, let the next one begin!
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