Below is my pastoral reflection from a beloved congregant’s recent memorial service. I share it here for two reasons.
First, Peg Horton was an absolute joy. She suffered through trauma in her life, but in the end decided that love was the way to triumph over evil.
Second, because I doubt most folks know the impact they are able to have on their pastors – for good and for ill. Peg’s impact on me will reverberate through my life.
For the last few years I’ve had the privilege to be Peg’s pastor. And I do mean, privilege. And as a pastor I do a few things. I teach. I help people discover, develop, and use their gifts. I encourage people to pursue a spiritual healthy lifestyle. I am present with people at some of the most emotionally tumultuous points of their lives – both positive and negative. And that’s what Peg told me I did for her over the past few years.
As I said, this has been my privilege. But pondered Peg’s relationship with me for this reflection, a thought began to form. Peg loved to ask questions, the more difficult the better, and her questions also provoked me to learn something new. She encouraged me to keep writing my novel, because she wanted to see what happened next. She checked in with me on stressful weeks, asking if I’d taken out my camera at all so “your spirit can catch up with your body.” She lifted me up to join with her birthday cards, and checked on me after our youngest son was born. And she spent hours at the bedside of the dying down at Riverview, just so they wouldn’t pass from this life alone.
She taught. She encouraged me to explore my gifts. She tried to keep me developing a healthy spiritual life. And she walked with me, and so many others, in tumultuous times.
Peg used to tell me, “I’m so glad you’re my pastor.”
But the truth is, I think Peg may have been mine. I’m blessed because of it. And, oh. How I will miss her.