Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33
In Which We Say Goodbye, preached by Rev. Peter Courtney
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN was going away. Nobody knew why he was going; nobody knew where he was going; indeed, nobody even knew why he knew that Christopher Robin was going away. But somehow or other everybody in the Forest felt that it was happening at last. One day when he felt that he couldn't wait any longer, Rabbit brained out a Notice, and this is what it said:
"Notice a meeting of everybody will meet at the House at Pooh Corner to pass a Rissolution By Order Keep to the Left Signed Rabbit."
He had to write this out two or three times before he could get the rissolution to look like what he thought it was going to when he began to spell it; but, when at last it was finished, he took it round to everybody and read it out to them. And they all said they would come. . . .
"The rissolution," said Rabbit, "is that we all sign it, and take it to Christopher Robin." So it was signed PooH, WOL, PIGLET, EOR, RABBIT, KANGA, BLOT, SMUDGE, and they all went off to Christopher Robin's house with it.
"Hallo, everybody," said Christopher Robin.
"What is it, Eeyore?" asked Christopher Robin.
Eeyore swished his tail from side to side, so as to encourage himself, and began. "Christopher Robin," he said, "we've come to say-to give you-it's called-written by-but we've all--because we've heard, I mean we all know--well, you see, it's--we--you--well, that, to put it as shortly as possible, is what it is."
Not quite knowing why, the others began edging away. Christopher Robin said, "Come on, Pooh," and he walked off quickly.
"Where are we going?" said Pooh, hurrying after him, and wondering whether it was to be an Explore or a What-shall-I-do-about-you-know-what.
"Nowhere," said Christopher Robin.
So they began going there, and after they had walked a little way Christopher Robin said:
"What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?"
"What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying 'What about a little something?' and Me saying,' Well, I shouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."
"I like that too," said Christopher Robin, "but what I like doing best is Nothing."
Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was Still looking at the world with his chin in his hands, called out "Pooh!" "Yes?" said Pooh.
I'm not going to do Nothing any more."
"Well, not so much. They don't let you." Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
“Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully.
“Pooh, when I'm--you know--when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?"
"Will you be here too?"
"Yes, Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be, Pooh."
"That's good," said Pooh.
So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”
In this edited version of the last Chapter of House at Pooh Corner we get a powerful glimpse of the cost of growing up. Growing up means all the things Christopher Robin says it means: Things will be different; They Won’t let you; doing Nothing is no longer an option; and so on.
The real message in the midst of all this tenderness is the tough reality that everything is going to be different. Yes it is. It always is.
Things do not change; people do. The 100 Acre Wood will endure for close to forever, but the people who come out from the 100 Acre Wood will change because everything is going to be different.
We have spent almost 8 months together dedicated to the Gospel notion that everything will be different. What is nice about an interim is that we get the luxury of deluding ourselves that these changes, these differences, are temporary. They may be temporary, but only because some other change, some other difference, is going to replace them. The Gospel puts it simply: “The First shall be Last and the Last shall be first.”
Everything will be different. Everything. The Gospel is that in the midst of everything being different our relationships sustain us: the relationships with one another and our relationship with God even though these too change over time.
Now St. Augustine’s is part of our treasure chest of relationships that will sustain us into the next chapter. Should it happen that we come back in some future time, everything will be different.
So, be well good friends. God will continue to spend herself for you that your future with your new priest will flourish, change, morph and bear fruit in ways you have no idea about today.