"Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will
look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am
going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:33-35, NRSV)
My time grows short at First Parish Church. I felt the poignancy of reading these words tonight. 40 of us shared a meal and half a dozen more joined us for the worship service held around the same table. We sang of Wondrous Love and heard "O Sacred Head;" we broke bread and passed the cup around the table; we heard the story of Good Friday and put out the candles until only the Christ Light remained, until even that light left the room.
Like many smaller churches, this congregation faces challenges in a trying economy. Financial necessity demands a cutback to half-time ministry, and this will call for a serious level of commitment on the part of church members. But the spirit of love we experienced tonight speaks of hope for the future. Just as Jesus' disciples went on to build a new kind of community together, so will the people of First Parish Church. And may the peace of Christ be with them.