Prayers for Pastors

Last call (a prayer for pastors)

It’s the last morning of our summer,
and the youngest, 10,
goes to wake the next youngest, 20,
to be sure she is up for church.

20 and 10 at the National Zoo
20 and 10 visit otters at the National Zoo.

This afternoon he leaves
for one last week of camp,
and before he returns,
she goes for her Junior Year Abroad.

These beginnings hold an ending.

Next summer, who knows where she will be.

I remember a summer when the even older ones
(now 24 and 29) were only home together for an hour.
This year they live on opposite coasts.
They text a lot.
Sometimes they Google Hangout.
(I know that’s not a verb.)

One got home for a day.

At church today, I will look out
over a gathering grown smaller
in my year there,
counting losses by death
and absences due to infirmity.

A widower shifted his pew,
but just for a few weeks;
last Sunday, for Communion,
he was back in his old spot,
though his eyes welled.

Will these endings hold a beginning?

Sometimes we know when we have heard
the last call, the last tentative “Good morning?” –
the last wake-up of the summer.

We pray, don’t let it be the last of all.