);

January 20, 2019

To the Saints at All Saints:

            “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”
                                                                                                Ephesians 2:19-22

This text describes what I have been pursuing my whole ministry: a People who are “joined together” spiritually as a dwelling place for God. What a vision! That is our sole mission and goal – to be the place where God lives!

When I first came to All Saints over a year ago as supply priest, I sensed the possibility of this community being, indeed, that place where God iives. There is so much potential, so many gifted members, so much yearning for that place where justice with compassion meet. That is the Kingdom of God! I am so blessed to be part of this great experiment, (all churches are experiments in how to do God’s House!), and to enter into the journey into God together. I have seen miracles here in small and large ways; lives changed and enriched – mine included!

As I continue to say, change is never easy, whether large or small changes. But change is the signal that life is present in the community. Any organism that is not changing in large or small ways is not alive. It is a museum piece and doomed to move out of existence. While changes have not always been easy or comfortable in my time so far as your Rector, I see buds of new life peeking out of older, well-established branches of what has been. We are often visited by new folks who bear the possibilities of new life for our community. Let’s take care of them! Our liturgy is carefully designed to be a transformational “event” in the lives of both individuals and the community as a whole. Enter prayerfully as you arrive, look through the scripture texts before we begin, discover the hymn texts to see what we will be singing, prepare your own prayers to add to the “Prayers of the People,” pray for the preacher, and move prayerfully to receive the sacraments. I see us as coming into the worship space as “strangers and aliens” to search for and experience God’s transforming love. We move through the ritual together, and, at some point, through the grace given through God’s Holy Spirit, we become something completely new: God’s People, changed and empowered to move back out into our worlds to turn it right side-up. That is the miracle of the Eucharist: we are healed and commissioned to love others into Wholeness.

I am so honored and humbled  to participate in this grand experiment with you. I pray that we keep our eyes, individually and collectively, on what we are about – to become that “dwelling place for God.” And don’t forget: “God’s power, working through us, can to infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. We only have to make ourselves available.

The Peace of God be with You!

Phil+