Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Dear Friends in Christ,
What a joy it is for me to reconnect with the parish! I’ve just returned from my sabbatical, a time of learning, exploration, writing, and most of all, a time of rest. This extended time of distance from priestly duties helped remind me of the life of lay people. My wife and I worshipped with a few different churches, especially St. James in Marietta. I know the clergy there, but of course, I’m not really part of that community, not really connected relationally, not really sharing life with them together. So the experience of worshipping there but being disconnected from the community felt thin and lacking. Not through any fault of the parish or its fine liturgy and people, but rather lacking because of my lack of connection to them. I felt as if I had showed up to a rich buffet of God’s blessings, only to take a few snacks and leave. I was on the periphery of that Christian community, so I was missing all the richness of growing together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The pandemic reminded us of how valuable our relationships are—even the messy ones. Our relationships in Christ are the venue for the most life-giving experiences of God’s grace. Together, we grow closer to God. Together, we strengthen one another; together, we wrestle with scripture until, like Jacob, we are blessed. God calls us together to give us more blessings than we would find apart. Together, we find the most growth as disciples of our Lord Jesus.
Come join us this Sunday as Sunday School begins, as we gather for worship and a parish picnic. Come join us this fall in ministry and study and service and prayer. Growing Together, we will find not just a taste of God’s grace, but a feast of God’s grace for us!
(And if you would like to learn more about my sabbatical, I’ll share my reflections and experiences on August 14, after the 10:30 service coffee hour).
Yours in Christ,