“Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
- Psalm 146:1 (The Book of Common Prayer)
PRAISE THE LORD!
I have never been a Christian that shouts “Praise the Lord!” ten times a day, but “hallelujah”, which means “praise the Lord”, has to be one of the more prominent words in the Hebrew Scriptures, especially in the Psalms.
As I come to the last few days of my tenure as your rector at St. Ambrose, there is much for which I want to praise the Lord.
Praise God for my wife, Julia, who has loved and supported me through all the highs and lows of parish ministry, listened generously, shared her wisdom, and often helped me to see things from a different perspective, which is always helpful.
Praise the Lord for this faith community, and for the other two churches I have been privileged to serve over the past 27+ years in the Diocese of Colorado. You all have listened attentively to my sermons, read my weekly meditations, allowed me to come alongside of you during times of challenge, crisis, and celebration. We have broken bread together, both at potlucks and more regularly at the Lord’s table, and the Lord has been present among us. We have prayed together, worked together, made plans and gone on retreats together, played together, sometimes gotten angry at each other, forgiven each other, and - so important! - sung God’s praises together. And, as I said last Saturday night at my farewell party - which was delightful and all I could have ever hoped for in a party - you have helped to form me, not just as a priest but also as a human being. Thank you!
Praise God for my health, and for this body that has helped me run and hike and climb and backpack and walk and play softball and keep up with our children when they were young.
Praise the Lord for my mentors in the faith, the people I have experienced as instruments of Christ’s love, light, healing, and transformation. They are too many in number to mention here, but I am very aware that without their wisdom, love, and feedback, I would not be the person that I am today.
Praise God for my clergy colleagues, especially the ones who have met with me in a wellness group for these last 27 years. What a treasure!
Praise the Lord for the friends I have had - from the time that I was a little boy until now. Some of them were part of my life for just a few years, while others have been friends for 30 or 40 years. Each one has been a precious gift from God!
Praise the Lord for the dreams and the promptings that He has given me - from joining the Peace Corps to marrying Julia to the call to the priesthood to parenting Zach and Hannah to the more recent calling to walk across America and raise money for organizations that serve children. These dreams and callings bring transformation and new life, and help me learn to trust in God’s provision…more and more and more. Thank you, Lord!
Praise the Lord for all the inspiring and renewing times I have had in God’s creation. Praise God for coyotes and cutthroat trout and sunrises and sunsets, for eclipses and dippers and fireweed and columbines and chiming bells and moose and aspen trees and snow and wind and rain and sunshine, for mountain streams and alpine lake reflections and forget-me-nots and summits shared with friends and family.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Hallelujah! May I praise the Lord as long as I live.