Wendell Berry: “Let others come.”

So this was my last view from the windows of the Rector’s study at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota, on Sunday afternoon, May 4, 2014. It was the last day that I stood at the Lord’s Table as the Rector of St. Stephen’s to give thanks to God with the people of that congregation. Afterwards, I took this photograph.

That particular moment, both the view and the occasion, brought to mind the words of a poem by Wendell Berry from his book Leavings. It’s one of many poems that come from his Sunday morning walks and observations of the world, but this one has fitting last words: “Let others come.” To that, I say, “Amen.” One year has now passed, and soon enough another priest will be called to sit there, overlooking Minnehaha Creek as it hugs the church and makes its way to the Mississippi River.


In time a man disappears
from his lifelong fields, from
the streams he has walked beside,
from the woods where he sat and waited.
Thinking of this, he seems to
miss himself in those places
as if always he has been there,
watching for himself to return.
But first he must disappear,
and this he foresees with hope,
with thanks. Let others come.

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