Well, Good Morning…
He starts slightly when his voice echoes. A soft laughter comes from the crowd. Gideon smiles at his congregation.
Well, that is a little bit different, isn’t it? So often in life change comes upon us gradually. There we are, minding our own business, when suddenly we’re adults or we’re responsible for others or we’re older than we thought we were. That realization is a shock, but gradual changes do not prepare us for the sudden one – the one that washes away the things you thought you knew and changes your world in a fundamental way. Two years ago, I was standing a few hundred yards from here near the shore and preaching the word of Sarenrae in the pre-dawn sunlight as a few of us huddled together because, as it turns out, it’s quite cold on the lake just before dawn. Now here we are, wrapped in stone, with the dawn’s light coming up behind us and ready to flood this hall with color.
I take credit for none of this. My life and my work are the result of the kindness and generosity of other people. If Her Grace, our Duchess, had not entrusted me with the spiritual caretaking of Ursundova, if all of you had not braved morning after morning to come here me ramble on, and, of course, if the Dawnflower had not approved of and blessed my efforts, none of this would have even been possible. All of our achievements, when we truly reflect on them, are the achievements of our communities – the friends and family who support us, the public servants who enable us to pursue our ambitions without fear, and the Gods who watch over us and guide us in so many ways. All of these things can be imperceptible in the moment – we do not often think of the maker of the wagon wheel when we’re driving the cart. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to reflect on just how much of what we do every day is only possible due to the good nature and kind support of our neighbors.
While I want to encourage gratitude today, I also want to encourage you to hold those persons who say they are here to help you to account. Ursundova is truly blessed in those people who occupy positions that are designed to support and aid Ursundovans. The members of the Ducal Council are your representatives and are responsible for acting as your voices in government. Whatever title they may hold, the Lords of the Ridings are, in fact, servants of the people, for without the people, they preside over empty land. From what I hear, few of them are farmers themselves… Even, and perhaps especially, the clerics of the faiths of Ursundova are servants of the Gods, but also of the community of worship – which includes all of you. Without you, I am nothing – a crazy man talking in a great hall, his voice echoing to no purpose. You have a right to expect that those who owe you service deliver and deliver well. I charge you, in the name of the Goddess of Honesty, to be honest with one another and with those who serve the community. After all, you are the community. There is no “greater good” that is not comprised of individual desires and wants. Individuals, it turns out, are only available individually.
In consecrating this great Cathedral to the spiritual well-being of this fine nation, I recall the very first speech given to the people of Ursundova. I was not here for that speech, but I have since read it many times over. It tells the story of a man who had fallen as far as any man can fall without losing his life. Bereft and alone, he eked out an animal existence in the very wilderness that we now call home. From the depths of that existence, he was lifted by faith and exalted by service to his fellow man to found a new nation – a nation that, inspired by his example, would survive him and a hundred other trials to become a shining beacon in a land that once offered only darkness and death to those who dared its depths. You are all a part of that nation and you can be justly proud of your part, whatever it may be, in making that light shine from Port Ice to Almas. This morning, let us pray that the Dawnflower continues to bless and keep our beloved Ursundova, and her people, close to her heart. Likewise, let us pray that we keep her edicts and wisdom close to our own hearts. The truth of the Dawnflower – the infinite wisdom of Honesty, Healing, and Redemption – is the power that can overcome any obstacle, and will empower her people, steeped in that truth, to bear any burden.
Let us greet the morning in song.