One of the gifts of going on a mission trip is that you are afforded the opportunity to get to know people. You tend to see people in situations that you wouldn't otherwise have the chance to be a part of in the life of church. You go out and work and serve and sometimes people get smelly. You pack lunches or stop to eat and share stories of life in the time in between. There is time in the car or on the plane and traveling together, well, it brings things out in people. This past week, while we were in the Vail valley, our Children's and Youth Minister, John Putnam, would gather all of us together each evening for a time of sharing about our day. The youth shared openly and honestly. We shared our feelings of missing home or a bit of anxiety of meeting all these new people; we shared about moments we felt like we knew God was present to us and times when the best we could muster was, "I am grateful for a shower". Towards the end of the week, one of our youth shared about their apprehension about coming on the trip--worried that perhaps this ever-changing youth group wouldn't feel like home anymore. And they shared, quite honestly, how that fear was relieved by the way everyone encouraged, cared for, and supported one another. It's moments like these when we begin to be the church--not simply when we are gathered on Sundays or serving on Saturdays, but when we begin to share our lives with one another in open ways. It can be a challenging thing to do; but then again, the most challenging things in life tend to be the most fulfilling. As we come to the end of the summer and the school year is just around the corner, so too is the program year of the church. I want to encourage us all to take a step more into the community of St. Timothy's--to find places to eat together, grab coffee, join a small group, or serve in the larger community. That is, share yourself in deeper ways with your neighbors here at St. Tim's. For it is in these daily, ordinary moments of sharing our lives and giving ourselves to one another that we discover, not only that we are not alone in this journey, but that we are needed and loved and valued by God and one another.
This Sunday we have the opportunity to offer our thanks to our seminarian, Laura Osborne, who takes leave from us to head to residential seminary in California. I hope you can join the celebration after the 10am service and send Laura off with our gratitude and blessing.
God's peace to you,