It is always difficult to say goodbye and particularly when that goodbye is being said in difficult circumstances, but I know all of you will join me in thanking God for the good work – and the hard work – Martin has done among us; for his passion for community development; for his ready and enthusiastic welcome of people on the edges of our community; and for his willingness to go above and beyond to help people and to demonstrate care for them.
As well as the impact Martin has made on individual people’s lives, there will also be small touches around the place we can attribute to him. I am thinking particularly of the Christ Candle we light at the start of worship – a beautiful symbol of the presence of God with us and of the light of Christ showing us the way to live.
And as I thought of the Christ Candle and its reminder of the promise Jesus makes to be with us always. (“Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b), I remembered the Irish blessing below.
May these words be our words, as a congregation, for Martin and Margaret, as they leave us.
May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire, so that stranger and friend may come and warm themselves at it.
And may light shine out of the eyes of you, like a candle set in the window of a house, bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day.
And may you come to know that you are an important part of God’s plan,
and may God watch over you and keep you safe from harm.
And now, Martin and Margaret, may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.
All of us at CBC