As I come to the end of my summer holiday my mind and heart reflect on what it is I think we are doing when we do church throughout the year.
Here are a few thoughts I sent out this morning to the people with whom I am so privileged to seek to be a community of faith and love at St. Philip.
As my summer holiday comes to an end I have found myself spending an unhealthy amount of time obsessing about the political drama unfolding south of the border. It is tempting at times to feel a bit despondent about the deep divisions and sometimes vicious tensions that seem to characterize so much of the human family.
But, observing the political turmoil in the US while I am away from St. Philip has not increased my cynicism or made me despair. Rather, it has caused me to reflect on the value of what we do together as church.
I feel a renewed conviction about the importance of gathering around the table to which Jesus invites us to reaffirm our commitment to living in tune with that dimension of life that transcends all differences and is deeper than the animosity and division that are so often evident in the world. I am captivated again by the challenge to be a place where we strive to put flesh and bones on the vision Jesus left us that we may manifest in the world the oneness of all creation (John 17:20-23).
One of the first things I will do when I am back “on the job” is to share in three weddings. In the marriage ceremony couples publicly express their intention to live in love and to submit to that power of love that brought them together. In August, I will stand with three couples as they commit themselves to love, faithfulness, mutual respect for one another, care, compassion, gentleness, and kindness. This is what church is for.
It is vital that there be a place where we gather to encourage one another to live by those values that are most truly and deeply human and to submit to that power that makes it possible for us to fulfill this powerful vision.
In the Christian faith, we believe that we see those values in the person of Jesus. We believe these qualities grow in our lives as we share together in opening our hearts to the power of love that is the source of all that is good and true and which Jesus embodied in his life.
Coming together as a community committed to growing in love is not an optional extra; it is the most important thing we can do in these tumultuous uncertain days.
It is a privilege to share with you all the challenge of being a community that upholds the power of love to change our lives and bring hope and goodness into the world.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
God Bless you all,