David Bolton, a priest of the church, died on July 19. He was 85. He lived on an island off Maine but I knew him in New Haven.
David was Rector of Christ Church, the great Anglo-Catholic parish in New Haven. I was Rector of St. Paul's, the left wing broad church in New Haven.
When he retired, sometimes between 1980 and 1985, I took him to lunch to say good-bye.
He told me, during lunch that he had prayed for decades for God to speak out loud and in English to him and 'tell him what to do'.
It was an interesting and odd story until he told me that God had answered that prayer.
I dropped my fork full of seafood salad and gaped at him.
"What was that like?" I asked, full of confusion and wonder.
"Well," David told me, "he had a Mid-Atlantic accent...."
"No!" I said, not caring what God's accent was (though I should have cared, I believe), "what did God say????"
David took a bite of good French bread and chewed it and swallowed it. Then he said, "He told me, 'David, do whatever comes next,' in a slightly exasperated tone.
Jesus, the only time I get to hear what God says out loud and in a Maryland accent, it is that banal--"David, do whatever comes next."
Maybe David exasperated God with his decades of prayers. And maybe God answered his question the only way that made sense.
Maybe that's what happened.
But a Maryland accent? I'm not even sure what that means besides saying 'Bal-ti-mor'.
I send a prayer to God for David's soul...he was a good, a very good man. But God probably already knows that since God spoke out loud to David, in English, with a Maryland accent and told him the most reasonable thing: 'David, do whatever comes next.'
May David's soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
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