The chorus from W.H. Auden's Christmas Oratorio is on my mind today as I reflect upon my life and ministry and the people and places I have known:
He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.
He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.
He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.
(W H Auden – 1907-1973)
All of life is about transition, change, rebirth. The places to which we are led on the way, the truths we discover, and the people who enter our lives become part of our story. Woven into the story is the One who revealed himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Word Incarnate holds all the places, discoveries, and people together in our experience and helps us to find meaning. In him, the unfamiliar becomes familiar, fears are transformed into faith, and life becomes joy. I am filled with gratitude.
This poem is set to two different tunes in The Hymnal 1982 of The Episcopal Church. Here's a beautiful choral setting by Carson Cooman: The Way, The Truth, The Life (Royal Holloway Choir, University of London, Samuel Rathbone & Rupert Gough) I hope it will help you reflect on your own journey and feel deep gratitude for the difference his presence makes.
I'll see you in Church!
The Very Reverend Ronald D. Pogue
Saint John's Cathedral