... whom I have never met but have wanted to meet since I first read his blog three or four years ago. I'm thinking of Father Al Kimel, a former Anglican priest who swam the Tiber to Rome maybe two years back. Thanks to Stand Firm and the wonderful Sarah Hey for her heeartfelt post on Father Kimel's retirement from blogging (kudos to Greg, Matt, Jackie, et. al., as well, of course).
Even though we all have our different stories, Father Kimel's tale is one that should resonate with any of us who have loved the Episcopal Church and who have grieved to see it depart from orthodox faith and practice ... and go off the deep end.
Since Father Kimel so emotionally tells his last blogging tale with an appropriate quote from Tolkien, he got me reflecting on another quote from The Lord of the Rings that I think is appropriate here. Those of us who love Tolkien undoubtedly will remember Bilbo's walking song as revised by Frodo while riding through the Shire before meeting the elves on their way to the Grey Havens (since I'm typing it from memory, pardon any errors):
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day shall come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the moon, east of the sun
That walking song was on my heart a few days ago while meandering through the streets of DC. While it obviously refers to death/eternity, it also is suitable for any closing chapter in our lives.
Namarie indeed, Father Kimel. But as you say goodbye, do know that your faithful service to our Lord and your work to renew the Episcopal Church have not been in vain. You have inspired people who you do not know and who have never met you to stay faithful to our Lord and Savior. We remember your work on the Baltimore Declaration. In your departure from TEC, our loss was Rome's gain. We thank you for providing us with, for a few years, one of the most spiritually sound, astute, and challenging blogs out there. And if our Lord ever leads you to take up blogging again, many of us will be grateful.
May our Lord grant the healing that you need, for "the hands of a healer are the hands of a king" (Tolkien again, rough paraphrase from memory).