This month shall mark for you

While still in the hell that was Egypt, God tells God’s people how to relate to time, once free. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, here is your calendar (vv.1-2). It’s lunar.

Thus this Sunday’s sermon: a sermon about the moon. I may have overestimated my ability to interpret the significance of the first couple of verses of Exodus 12. What I have underestimated is the impact of hearing the news -- the news that Wallace Adams-Riley is turning the page.

Many moons ago, I was introduced to him at what would become an every Tuesday morning appointment. He seemed nice enough and plenty thoughtful. Heck, I was the new kid in town. Anyone remotely interested in my existence was a gift.

In time, I would marvel at his cheer. I would be on one side of the table drinking my coffee as though it were heroic to have simply made it to the hour. Wallace would be greeting people like it was the privilege of his life.

I would glare at his energy level and tell him I was glaring. I knew that it (his energy) was being put to use in a kingdom-advancing way and I was envious.

When I could, during Lent, I’d run off to weekday worship at his parish and experience the art of dismissing folk (the benediction). Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who journey the way with us. So be swift to love, and make haste to be kind. And the blessing of God Almighty be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

I saved the hand-written note thanking me for participating in a Good Friday service. I still owe him lunch money. From afar, he roots for the people called Boulevard. I was counting on more of things as things have been.

Of course, that is not what friends are for; friends aren’t for meeting our needs. Friends are for delighting in. So Wallace, as you step into the pulpit one final time at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Richmond: You have made my moon-ths richer. Wherever the next chapter takes you, Godspeed. Be renewed like the moon and know you have been light. And grace. And courage.

Friends, time truly is given. For life beyond Egypt, it is what we receive as a means to connect. Tell somebody this week that they have helped you mark the months in a way that is truer to God’s design. And don’t. Don’t take a second of it for granted.


Rachel May