This last Saturday I was blessed to attend the celebration of the life and ministry of Dan Panshin. My first encounter with Dan was when he volunteered to be “my driver” if I ever needed one. I never took Dan up on his generous offer, but it was the beginning of my understanding of this real saint of the Church. I did, however, ask Dan if he would be willing to drive the Presiding Bishop when she came to Minnesota for meetings and gatherings. Little did I know of the shared history Dan had with the Presiding Bishop in Oregon.
The term is often overused, but Dan was absolutely a Renaissance man. This was made even more apparent to me as people shared about their particular perspectives and relationships at the service for Dan at St. Clement’s: he was well educated, welcoming, and gracious. Dan was an accomplished public speaker, an athlete, a dapper dresser, a historian, a true friend, a faithful man, and so much more including a poet.
In the early morning
half light preceding dawn
whites and grays and blacks
chimney plumes scurry eastward and
footsteps crunch on the snowy sidewalk.
Stars overhead like Christmas lights
as the haloed moon cast shadows
on the quiet of the city
before it wakes.
Purity of snow and frost
resilient trees and shrubs|
winter birds and urban rabbits
give us promise of rebirth that
experience has taught us will come
Dan Panshin, 26 April 1996
Sweet words for us as we embrace our Advent season of watching, waiting, and preparing for the Holy One to come. All of this as we give thanks for all our loved ones who now fully and completely embrace the Holy One they waited and prepared for.