Dear Grace and St Peter’s,
It’s a perfect day in Connecticut! Days like this one made Pam and me fall in love with Southern Connecticut when we first moved here ten years ago. The sky is blue, a gentle breeze blows, trees return to the rich green of spring and summer, birds sing, flowers bloom, herons fish stealthily in a nearby river. All of creation chants a hymn of praise to its creator; every leaf and petal, every hill and stream reflect her glory. What a great day to be stuck at home writing to you from my back porch.
Today is also the National Day of Prayer in the United States. So, while I am here on my back porch enjoying the wonders of creation and writing this missive, I am also taking special note of the content of my prayers—prayers for healing, wholeness and peace for the world, for this nation, for our local towns and cities, for the Church writ large, and for Grace and St Peter’s Church in particular; prayers for well-being and happiness for you all, for friends and family, and for myself.
Of all those prayers, one of the most fervent (if prayers can actually be ranked by their fervency) is that Grace and St Peter’s, and the followers of Jesus in general, take this challenging time as an opportunity for re-creation—that we allow ourselves to be re-created, born again if you will, by God’s Spirit. If the Holy Spirit were to move through us like a mighty wind (more Dan Kovner lyrics!), what kinds of transformation would take place?
Perhaps some of you know C.S. Lewis’ image of God’s transformative work in our lives being like a divine home remodeling project. Renovations begin as expected—necessary repairs get made, the roof is patched, the walls are smoothed and painted. But, then something more disruptive, even painful, takes place. God starts tearing down and building up, adding rooms and wings, courtyards and towers. As Lewis writes: “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.”
Grace and St Peter’s has not met in traditional ways for almost two months now, yet we have shown ourselves to be a steadfast family of faith bound together by mutual love and care, and bound together by a shared love for Jesus, the one who gave himself in order to share God’s abundant Kingship of Kinship with us. An impressive number of our valuable ministries continue despite obvious impediments. I am certain that we will not squander these gifts. Still, I sense that God has something new and glorious in mind for us, not necessarily in terms of attendance on Sunday mornings—though maybe that, too—but in terms of heart, soul and spirit; in terms, as Bishop Ian might say, of what God is up to in the world.
God is drawing plans for a new palace and we are it!