It was just a year ago, this week, that we started our ministry together. I remember using a quote by the poet Maria Rainer Rilke in one of my first sermons with you: “The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”

“Tend what you have, with an eye toward beauty.” This sage advice was given to me by my garden mentor, Susan Sides, who is one of my heroes and quite simply just one of my favorite human beings on earth. She was the executive director and garden manager of a non-profit farm where I interned several years ago. Susan possesses the kind of wisdom that could only come from decades of tending with patience and care all the life around her, from the microorganisms in the soil to the birds of the air to those in need in her community to young, eager interns like myself. “Tend what you have,” she said, “with an eye toward beauty.” She possesses such wisdom that she often said things like this just in passing and probably doesn’t even remember saying this particular phrase, but it’s echoed in my mind ever since the day she said it. But before she said that phrase, I saw it in action.

Come Holy Spirit and kindle in us the fire of your love: take our minds and think through them; take our lips and speak through them; take our souls and set them on fire with love for you. Amen.  

The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

When I was a child every few months, without any notice or warning, I would hear the sound of a specific car coming out the dirt road to our home. It sounded like grinding gears and metal rattling. It was one of those early 1960s green ramblers.