The Holy Spirit works in mysterious and very helpful ways, for I could not have found two better scriptures for our transition reflection today than our epistle and gospel. They are perfect for where we are and what we need to talk about today.
The gospel tells us what to do, and the epistle tells us how to do it.
A priest who supervised me when I first got ordained told me that families are more who they are than ever at weddings and funerals.
What he meant was that in moments of life and death, all of their best qualities are exaggerated, but so too are all of their worst.
In times of transition, old fights and grudges reemerge, but so too do forgotten depths of courage and insight and grace.
I have found that this dynamic is true for church families as well.
So don’t be surprised if in the next few weeks and months, the fight about taking down the old stained glass window above the altar at St. Luke’s comes back, or the question of who exactly had the idea of taking down the altar rail at St. Thomas and moving the font up to the front.
As anxiety levels rise in transition, we start to get territorial.
This is my ministry, my area, my pet project, my meeting, my idea about how our church should go forward.
We start to take ownership, false ownership, over things and ideas and people.
It may help to damp down our anxiety, but it will not help our church at all, in the short term or in the long run.
A man in the gospel falls right into this trap. Continue reading