We shall not cease from exploration…

What we call a beginning is often the end

and to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

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.

I first heard these fragments pulled from T S Eliot’s Four Quartets, found in our hymnal, at the Oakland, California UU Church in 1983. The Rev Rob Eller-Isaacs closed a profoundly moving service with these lines. A few images flicker and these words remain from that morning 32 years ago. What remains, still touches deep.

The line With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling comes somewhere in between these two stanzas. I’m glad to have found them as my time with you ends. As I pull books from the shelves of my office at UUFM, clean out the desk, and purge my files, I come across pictures, notes from meetings, letters, the invitation to my installation as your first called minister, and all kinds of mementos that bring the past into focus– into the present.

I will draw on all the love I’ve shared with this congregation in the past ten and a half years as I begin again. I’ve learned so much from working and creating with all of you. For this, I’m so grateful. I hear the progressive voice calling and I know you will respond with gusto to Rev Jonalu Johnstone as you explore increasingly powerful ways to be a bold model of love, a beacon for liberal religion and builders of bridges across economic, racial, sexual, educational, theological … divides. Welcome her with your generous spirit and eager minds.

May good things happen as we draw upon all the love available and respond with intelligent compassion to all that calls.

Michael

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