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A Reflection on “Accepting My Place in Creation” from Thomas Merton’s Journals

May 25, 2022

Yesterday we arrived to begin our full-time residency in South Alabama and my call to serve as a member of the Presbytery of South Alabama. The townhouse that we are renting is in Orange Beach (close to the beaches of the Alabama Gulf coast) and I look forward to beginning my new call as the Interim Minister at Swift Presbyterian Church in Foley, Alabama.

It has been an incredibly busy four months since I began a sabbath break from parish ministry. We have accomplished a lot and now, Denise and I see a new beginning in front of us. Hopefully after her orthopedic appointment that we plan on scheduling tomorrow, she will be on a healing path.

After the movers left a few days ago and before we had to go back to Georgia to clean our house and clear out the last of our things we sat on the front porch of our townhouse and listened to the frogs and the steady rhythm of the falling rain. It really was peaceful and balm for our weary souls. As I read the daily reading from A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations From His Journals, edited by Jonathan Montaldo this entry spoke to my heart and to the place where we find ourselves on the cusp of this new chapter in life and ministry.

One lovely dawn after another. Such peace! Meditation with fire-flies, mist in the valley, last quarter of the moon, distant owls—gradual inner awakening and centering in peace and in a harmony of love and gratitude… A complete awakening of identity and rapport! It implies an awareness and acceptance of one’s place in the whole, first the whole of creation, then the whole plan of Redemption—to find oneself in the great mystery of fulfillment which is the Mystery of Christ. — May 23 and 25, 1965 — Dancing in the Water of Life: Seeking Peace in the Hermitage (Journals, vol V: 1963–1965)

My hope and my prayer for this chapter as I walk with the good people of Swift Presbyterian Church is for a renewal of vision for us and for our church family. As we embrace the healing of the Gulf coast and the presence of our family and friends we embrace the hope for healing, peace, and and renewal.

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