Over the past several months, I’ve had, what I might call, meaning-conversations with quite a few people. More than normal, to be honest. I’m not sure what has caused this spike in people wanting to talk about the core values of their lives.
It is an exciting time at St. Tim’s. And as our Senior Warden, Simon Caddick, mentioned on Sunday: God continues to guide us and call us forth into deeper waters of faith as a congregation. We are working to align our monies with our mission, which is a way of saying, that we are committed to being faithful to the ways God is calling us forth in ministry.
This week brought deep sadness, pain and grief upon many in our larger community as we heard the news that two students, in separate incidents, died by suicide. These students were not immediately a part of St. Tim’s, but some of us did know them. John Putnam, our Youth and Children Minister has been in touch with our youth and parents. The reality of such tragic moments in our lives, families, community, and church brings forth a myriad of emotions. As a parent of two children, my heart is sick for the families, friends and loved ones of the dead. Indeed, my heart, as I am sure for many of us, is touched by the fear and wondering of, “What can I do to help my children, grandchildren, loved ones?”
Our Gospel for Sunday contrasts the very humanness of Jesus’ disciples with Jesus’s vision of the Kingdom of God. We encounter Jesus and his disciples on the road, and while he was teaching them, they were arguing about who was the greatest. Even they knew this was silly, so when Jesus asked them what they were arguing about, they were silent. So Jesus told them plainly, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
“Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?’” This is one of my favorite scriptures, coming from Mark 8—and we hear it this Sunday
This coming Sunday, September 9th, will be our Kickoff Sunday. We launch our program year together and gather after the 10am service for an all-parish picnic and celebration.
There is unspeakable joy in being a priest and pastor. There is also great responsibility and with it, great privilege to offer care, love, forgiveness, blessing and edification in the name of Jesus. In part, this is why I am writing to you this week about a topic in the life of the greater church that is difficult for me as a priest and a parent to put into words.
Change is a hard thing—let’s be honest. I had a spiritual mentor who said to me, quite bluntly, after I went on blabbering about my frustrations with something changing in my life: “Nick, life is always changing.
All week long, our offices at St. Tim’s have been filled with annoying noises. There has been shouting so loud that people have closed their doors. A constant barrage of beeping, whistles, and yelling. It’s not been a great environment, but something new is happening.
Grief is a powerful thing. If you’ve ever experienced it—then you know this to be true. If not in your mind and heart, then certainly in your body. I say this because we also live in a culture that doesn’t like to talk about grief. We don’t talk much about the pain inside us, the sadness, and even the feelings of isolation, out-of-control-ness, and fear.
Over the past couple weeks (and into the next couple), we have heard and will hear of the story of King David. In particular, we heard of the tragic and foolish story of the abuse by David and misuse of his power against the woman Bathsheba.
It’s the summer. People are traveling, some are working hard to keep their lawns green; some people are getting outdoors, and some are reading books they haven’t been able to get to in quite some time. Most people are working. For most people life doesn’t necessarily “slow down”—and for the least among us, it never does.
This Sunday the children, youth, and adults from our VBS weekend will be sharing with us the good news. We will hear again the story of Jesus calming the stormy waters, as the disciples cry out in fear from the rocking boat. Paul Tillich, the great German theologian of the 20th century, once said that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear.
It’s good to be back home. My family and I have been away for some vacation and reconnecting with one another. With that, I’ve found a bit of room to breathe and notice that it can be hard to stay connected these days.
It has been hot this week. Last evening I poured myself a large glass of cold, pure water from the fridge and gulped it down to slake my thirst. You can drink many things in this weather – iced tea, lemonade, even a tall chilled beer (not the children please) but nothing quite compares to pure, cold water.
I hope we Episcopalians are still feeling the excitement of our Presiding Bishop’s sermon at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. What an amazing opportunity for an amazing preacher to remind the world of the Love which is what really matters, and to spur us to dream of a world where love, truly, is the basis.
Thank you so much to everyone who welcomed me to St. Tim’s this past week! I’m really honored to join this amazing community as the Youth and Children Minister. Excitement and joy are the words that best describe my feelings, but I would be lying if I said, as with any new call, there isn’t some unease or doubt.
This past Saturday, our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gave a powerful and gospel-driven message at the royal wedding. If you haven’t seen it, take a moment, and click here. Bishop Curry has been on a bit of a whirlwind media tour, giving a good name to the Christian faith and our Episcopal Church. v
You may have heard that there is a big wedding this week. Something about a royal family across the pond. What you may not know is that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, is preaching at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Yes, that’s right—your Presiding Bishop!
This Sunday we have a big announcement as a parish family. It’s exciting and good news that will both inspire and challenge us. And so, it’s good that we continue to hear from the first letter of John this Sunday about God’s presence and love in our lives.