June 21, 2020
As I walked our dog, Marnie, early-ish this past Sunday morning, I was surprised and even a little annoyed to hear music playing. I couldn’t figure out its source; it quietly filled the neighborhood, seeming to come from all directions. Eventually, I realized a church was preparing an outdoor service, and a few feelings began to grow in me. I felt joy hearing praise of our God fill the air, and I felt a yearning to find those people and join them – and, honestly I felt jealous that it wasn’t Immanuel outside singing!
I shared this experience with those who joined our weekly 11am Virtual Fellowship later that Sunday morning. Dick Ayre’s response moved me. He said, “Fr. Travis, that’s our hope, that we would experience the power of worshiping together in such a way that our worship becomes a beacon drawing our neighbors, not for our numerical growth, but for God’s glory. A movement born of our love for our Savior, and obedience to his will.” (I hope I captured your words accurately, Dick!) For me, this is an expression of a verse that has been on my heart for Immanuel ever since saying “yes” to Jesus’ call to join you:
In Jesus you also are being joined together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2.22)
I know our hearts are impatient for when we can again worship together in person. This is a genuine hope – a settled confidence in God’s good future becoming our present reality – although we don’t yet know the time, place, or manner in which this will happen. This upcoming Monday the vestry and I will meet to continue discerning our way forward, beginning by reviewing the results of the survey we sent out (thank you for the many responses!), discussing current articles on the subject, and praying. Please pray with us and for us, using James 1.2-8 and 3.17-18 as your guide.
And continue joining us in worshiping our Triune God on Sundays at 10am and Wednesdays at 7pm, and invite your neighbors. It’s never been easier to invite a friend to church, and those friends don’t even need to be geographically close! Immanuel already is a beacon.
Your Pastor in Christ,