The week has been full. My own schedule keeps me moving through most days with an ever-present sense of gratitude. Retirement presented itself at a time when my ministry had taken me to new and exciting places. It felt like road block. All I had was ‘hope’. There was another path to take from that road and I would have to be patient to see its course.
Hope is a gift given in times when control seems to have been taken away. Not always easy to recognize – often hard to practice, hope reaches out to help begin each day and stands gently by as the day closes into night. Like the prayers of morning, noonday, evening and night – hope weaves its way through the hours ready to offer its support in moments of weakness.
This week has been filled with some moments of inspiration and others of sadness. With fewer distractions I am more aware of these changes and their reason. Retirement’s path has given me time. Time to pay attention to what moves me through each day – both the joy and the pain.
Two years ago on this very week I ended my time as an active priest, saying fair well to a ministry rich in relationships and creativity. Closing that door I turned to begin my time as a retired priest.
All along I have prayed for hope. Hope to stay motivated as I ventured way beyond my comfort zone to begin the hard work of making home in a new city. Hope that I would be shown the places where my gifts could be shared and needed.
This has happened – and more. And throughout, I have sung or spoken the words of the hymn below. It has always brought comfort and welcomed honesty. May it offer you the same.
Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
Lord of all Hopefulness (YouTube video)