Blessed are those who are persecuted Unfriendly waters do a friendly Thing: curses, cataract-hurled Stones, make the rough places Smooth; a rushing whitewater stream Of blasphemies hate-launched, Then caught by the sun, sprays rainbow Arcs across the Youghiogeny. Savaged by the river's impersonal Attack the land is deepened to bedrock. Wise passivities are earned In quiet, craggy, occasional pools That chasten the wild waters to stillness, And hold them under hemlock green For birds and deer to bathe and drink In peace persecution's gift: The hard-won, blessed letting be.

We were both apprehensive, my wife and I. We had been away from our congregation for twelve months, a sabbatical year, and we were on our way back. It had been a wonderful year, soaking in the silence, gulping down great drafts of high-country air. Could we handle the transition from the solitude of the Montana Rockies to the traffic of Maryland?

Being a pastor is a difficult job, maybe no harder than any other job ...

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