Last night I arrived at a resort in Blaine, WA, for the Clergy Conference of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. It’s a gathering of clergy every year to build and renew friendships, worship together, explore opportunities for new ministry, and generally eat a lot of good food. I have always enjoyed Clergy Conference and this is no different.
I’m in a third-floor room with a great view out onto the Semiahmoo bay. A glance out onto the water showed black birds which turned out to be White-winged Scoters, a kind of sea-duck. It’s a new one for my life list. So here I am in a new place, making new friends, in a new diocese with new ministries and a new bird floating in the water out there. My wife would call me a sucker for punishment. I think I’m just curious. I like new things. But then,…
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Excerpt from The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot
Perhaps newness is just what we call the recovery of what has been deeply forgotten.