Sisters and Brothers,
As you know Br. Ray and I have been on vacation. We'll be back on Sunday, so hopefully we'll see everyone then. We've missed you all and have remained connected regarding some pastoral issues. There are always folks who need all of our prayers.
This Sunday is Christ the king Sunday. We are reminded that it is Jesus Christ that we proclaim as our sovereign. He is the one we honor with our lives and our labor and within our hearts. While Ray and I have been away we've read a book written by Ray's former pastor and our friend, Fr. Ted Karpf. In the book, Fr. Ted shares his life story. It is amazing and a testament in faithfulness is spite of adversity. We were not aware of all the betrayal and heartache he has endured. Fr. Ted has served in various roles both within the Episcopal and Anglican Churches here in the US and abroad, as well as a diplomat for the US and for the World Health Organization. He is good friends with such folks as Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Throughout all his experiences he sees the hand of God even though there have been periods of deep heartache and loss. I would love to have him with us sometime if his health allows. (He contracted a horrible cardiac disease while living in South Africa.) I mention him to you because he is such an amazing example of forgiveness and perseverance. As I read his book I kept thinking of our stewardship theme: The Way of Love. That theme could easily sound so quaint and pleasant, but in reality it is something much more powerful and meaningful than we might first imagine.
The Way of Love requires much of us. It requires letting go of our own agenda in order to embrace another. It means sacrificing of "self" in order to help another. It means letting our preferences take second place. It means seeing the good...or perhaps even searching for the good in another in spite of differences.
We as a parish have so much potential to be a great place that fully lives into our identity. We can't just assume that we've arrived or that the best is past. The best can still be yet to come but it will require something of every one of us. This week a dear woman passed away, Janise Darrow. I knew her from my days as a leader at the Cathedral of Hope. Janise didn't have a great deal to share treasure-wise, but she made up for it in other ways. She had much to share in love. She adopted those who were rejected by their families and became their chosen mama. She made the church richer and fuller and more itself. She shared her gift of love freely, joyfully and extravagantly. She will be missed.
I pray that we might all commit ourselves to share our own selves this coming year. I pray that our giving will come out of our own pledge to walk in The Way of Love.
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