“Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”
– Philippians 1:27, St. Paul to the church in Philippi, and the church in Snohomish County.
Beloveds in Christ,
I’ve been thinking about my mother this past week. Two things I learned the most from my mother, gratitude, and resilience. She had all sorts of sayings and saying to communicate deep wisdom. Some of those sayings were rooted in the courage that poor people developed to face a life of hardship, and still see beauty, express love, and celebrate being alive.
These days it seems that we are jolted continuously, getting out of the frying pan into the fire. We are living amid a global pandemic that changed our habits and patterns of human interaction, a severe economic crisis that is impacting the livelihood and well-being of many, the gloom of collective trauma that alters our focus and our capacity for empathy, the blunt exposure of the wickedness of racism in our country and towns, the feelings of guilt and powerlessness at dealing with our complicity in racism, the increase politicization and polarization on issues like wearing masks, showing support for Black Lives Matter movement or appreciation for the work of the Police, hurricanes, fires, and now our skies covered in smoke. Yes… from the frying pan into the fire indeed. So much have happened, or have been unveiled, in a matter of months.
No wonder we feel tired, I know I am tired. And I get anxious, and I get snappy and cranky and long for the good old days of late 2019.
Nothing, or very little, in our lifetime, prepared us for figuring out life and meaning during this time. At the same time, we are not passive participants or merely waiting for this to happen. As Christians, we are summoned to be awake, clothe ourselves in Christ, and follow the Way. We might be tempted at this moment in history to say, Come Lord Jesus! But know that plea comes with a response that we might not want to hear. Our Lord Jesus is here, present among us, in solidarity with us in our struggles and hardship. While at the same time, it is us, the Church who now enfleshes the Good News of Christ’s Gospel in our neighborhoods. The Apostle Paul instructs and encourages the church in Philippi, and us the church in Snohomish County, to live our life as a church in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
Let us continue to be honest with God about our feelings of disheartening and sorrow during this time. While also continue to look for opportunities to live in the manner of the Gospel of Christ by not waiting for the time to resume our church services but seeking to be the church in the world. If you are tempted to ask what is St. John’s or the church doing about this or that, remember that you are the church, so the question also is what “I am doing about this or that” or “how am I helping, assisting, or leading on this or that.” We are all ministers of the church. We are all bearers of Good News, even, and perhaps more importantly, when we are all feeling that we are moving out of the frying pan into the fire.
From the Book of Common Prayer, pg. 855
Q. Who are the ministers of the Church?
A. The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.
Q. What is the ministry of the laity?
A. The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the
Re-gathering Protocol: Please join me in thanking the Protocol Team, Leann Torgerson, Dave Baldwin, Kim Eichner, Jackie Grove, and Dawn Wheatley, for all their work in developing a substantial safety protocol for when our time to re-gather comes. The document was finalized on our end this week and sent to the Office of the Bishop for feedback and approval.