Pastor’s Corner 7/30/2020
I’m pausing my reflections on Canoeing the Mountains. Instead, this morning I’ve been reflecting on the Scripture passages that will be read this week during the “Institution of a Rector” service. All four of them have depth, encouragement, and challenge—Joshua 1:7-9; Psalm 146; Ephesians 4:7-16; John 15:9-16—and personally I’m looking forward to hearing my friend Pastor Chris preach on the passage from Joshua. Today, however, part of the Ephesians passage is holding my attention:
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers (I raised my hand as I read this—that’s me!) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” (4.11-13a).
God has given me to Immanuel to equip you for the work of ministry, to join with you in building up the body of Christ, the Church—our church, the global church, the Ancient-Future Church of ages past and the age to come. Most of you already are aware of this fact, that as a church we exist for the sake others. It’s clearly stated in our vision: “God with us for the sake of others.” Paul makes it clear to the people of Ephesus and the people of Prince William County (and Loudoun County, Fauquier County and Stafford County…did I miss any of us?) that my primary role as your pastor is to come alongside you in ways that prepare your hearts, minds, and hands for serving God, each other, and our communities in the love of Christ.
And, of course, I don’t do this alone! Apostles (talking about Bishop John, here, and others), prophets, and evangelists are given to us. Flip over to 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 for lists of others, and you’ll find yourself mentioned among them. I’m looking forward to learning where you are in those lists, and helping you learn and grow more deeply in the gifts given to you.
“The gifts given….” That’s an essential truth. We are gifts from God to each other—gifts to be received, to be appreciated, and not to be taken for granted or taken advantage of, and to be loved. And, in being gifts to each other, there is both honor and humility, all of it flowing from grace. The Ephesians reading on Sunday will begin with these words:
“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (4.7).
Yes, we’re back to grace, this gift that keeps on giving, our God leaning toward us, reaching out to give us all we need for life with Him, in Him, and for Him. Let’s experience God’s grace together—receiving, enjoying, and extending it to all.
A brief word about the Vestry meeting this past Monday. We focused on planning for an outdoor worship service later in August, and discerning whether to pursue a new indoor location for meeting together beginning in September. More details need to be confirmed this week before making any official announcements, but we look forward to sharing plans with you soon. Also, as soon as I finish writing this piece, I head out the door to join Chloellen and Bob to walk the property on Hoadly Rd. for my first time, continuing our preparation for the mortgage application process.
And the Bishop, my family and I look forward to waving to you all at the Parking Lot Party (the Drive-by Welcome as renamed by Joe Fucello) on Sunday at 2pm!
Your Pastor in Christ,