All Saints Messenger - September 20, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:41 AM by Church Secretary
Click here for full version

Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Well, the time is finally here. My last Messenger communique with The People of God at All Saints. I first want to say what a wonderful honor and joy it has been to spend these last 6.5 years with you. Outside of my years at home as a toddler, adolescent, etc. this is the longest I have stayed in one place my entire life. That is because of each one of you. You have been loving, accepting, challenging, fun and supportive.

I finished my doctorate while here, Chaired Congregational Vitality, Chaired the Bishop Search Committee, paid off the debt, started new ministries, celebrated weddings, baptisms, funerals and much more. You have invited me into your lives and Christina and I thank you. As we venture into this new chapter in our live we are blessed and grateful that we got to spend time with you and All Saints.

This place is special...you live your faith by sharing the love of Christ in the community. You feed, house and support all types of people; poor, lonely, marginalized and wealthy. This place is a gift to the world. Now while all these wonderful things are true it does not mean there aren't things you can do better. Reality being what it is...that's the reason I felt called to move on. I believe we have done what can be done under my leadership. Now a new leader will come in and continue to make this place a "City on a hill radiating the love of Christ to the world." As Deacon Martha often says, "It's God's math." We don't know how it works, we just know that when we are faithful...it works!

This past Tuesday at my last Vestry meeting I read a reflection I had written. A part of it went like this: 

"I believe the following applies to both the one who is departing and the congregation who is left behind. It is an opportunity...one fraught with joy, sadness, growth, dying, rebirth. In deciding to say yes to a different "call", one we thought we discerned about carefully we soon realize that we have only successfully discerned only one appendage of the elephant in the room. We always see through a mirror dimly, even when we are face to face. On top of that, let us not forget that there is plenty of evidence that God's idea of an adventure is almost always found between a rock and a hard place. Yes, there is the parting of the Red Sea . . . which opens into a wilderness. There is the opening of the heavens, a descending dove and a voice from above . . . which is closely followed by a showdown with the devil. There is the Damascus road . . . resulting in blindness and desert dwelling. The list goes on. Perhaps it is best to assume the calling intrinsic to every move is the call to "sing the Lord's song in a foreign land." Wherever we land, there we must learn to sing.

Learn to be content, celebrating who you are, who your neighbors and parishioners are, who the interim is...it is easy to be sidetracked and focus on the less pleasurable and pleasing...it also doesn't lead to a state of contentment. Always embrace, celebrate, inhabit, welcome and practice improvisation...it leads to contentment. We're not perfect...you're not perfect, I'm not perfect. Only God Is perfect...thank God...permission to fail and fail boldly!

The story is told of Wynton Marsalis playing one of his signature trumpet solos in a jazz club in New York City. The audience was transfixed and transported as he brought the solo toward its conclusion. Then someone's cell phone went off. The cell phone violator ran for the door -- whether to take the call or to save his life is not known. About the time the crowd recovered their composure, they noticed that Marsalis, without a pause, had incorporated the cell phone jingle into his solo. And he was going with it. Then, somehow, he found the way from there to where he left off, again without missing a note. The piece was redeemed, and the performance the better for it. The art of improvisation is the footing and the fruit of contentment."

To live a life of improvisation and contentment while radiating the love of Jesus Christ is an awesome task and responsibility. I often share about our need to be counter-cultural. This is not easy, but it is what God calls us to do. All Saints is a bright light radiating to the world. Continue to do so. I will be watching and praying with you.

See ya Sunday!

With love and Blessings,
Fr. Gary+ & Chris
Comments