Monday, February 10, 2014

Salt and Light

Over the past several Sundays the preaching at Trinity Church has centered around two important questions in this post-establishment era:

  • Who are we are?
  • What is God calling us to do? 

Preaching on the calling of Peter, Andrew, James, and John, Trinity's Rector, Jo Barrett emphasized the radical nature of the response of those first disciples to Jesus. Surely their neighbors would have looked at them and asked with some dismay, "What are you doing?" Leaving their livelihood behind to follow Jesus must have raised some eyebrows. While coming to church on Sunday mornings is not nearly as shocking, many of our friends and neighbors might well ask, "What are you doing?" In a society in which regular participation in worship is no longer the norm, our decision to gather each Sunday for Word and Sacrament is just that - a decision - and we are called to have some clarity, although never perfect clarity, about why we make that decision.

A week earlier Dan Weir, one of Trinity's Priests Associate, preached on the story of the first disciples in the Gospel according to John. Having heard the testimony of John the Baptist, "Look, here is the Lamb of God," two of John's disciples follow Jesus. In response to his question about what they are looking for, the two ask him when he is staying. He tells them to come and see. The Greek word translated as staying occurs many times in John's account of the Gospel, most notably in Jesus' final teaching in which he speaks about abiding in his love just as Jesus abides in the Father's love (15:7). Of course those first disciples could only learn about this over time. As they came and travelled with Jesus they began to see where he really lived, in the Father's love. Sharing a story about two people who were looking for a church in a town where he served the Episcopal parish, Dan said that he had invited them to come and see - and they did and became active members of the parish.

In her sermon on this past Sunday, Jo challenged us to claim our identity as salt and light. Although many of us had understood that salt was an important preservative in the first century, few of us had thought about salt as a common form of payment and, therefore an element of business contracts and covenants. To be the salt of the earth, Jo pointed out, is to be a living sign of God's covenant with this world. To be the light of the world is to be about the work of shining the light of God's love into the darkness of this world. That light shines as we minister to others in our congregation and in the wider community. 

All of us at Trinity have responded to Jesus' invitation to come and see what it means to abide in God's love. We certainly don't do that perfectly. A good deal of the time we don't remember that we are beloved children of God. But when we do remember, when our eyes are open to see what God is doing in our lives and in the world around, it is in these moments of grace that we can answer the question, "What are you doing?" with "Come and see." Come and see what it's like to live in God's love, to be salt and light for the world that God loves, to be followers of Jesus.

(Editor's note: Dan posted some reflections on the story of the first disciples on his blog, The Thin Tradition, in 2009 - Finding Jesus.)


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Finding A Home

On the Second Sunday of Easter Priest Associate Dan Weir raised a question in his sermon.
Why was Thomas not with the others when Jesus appeared to them on Easter Day and what made him come back to the fellowship of the disciples the following Sunday?
Dan didn’t offer a definite answer to that question – how could he? – but he used it as an opportunity to raise another question.
Why do we come back to the fellowship of Trinity Church each Sunday?
The question prompted many members to share their answers, answers which give a picture of what is important about the life of this faith community. Here they are.
I find a sense of peace and love in the beautiful sanctuary surrounded by my church family
A peace and calmness I feel no other place
Reason for believing … Just in case
Reason for attending … It feels right
Reason I keep attending … I like it
To give thanks for all of God’s blessings to me: family, friends, freedom-country, shelter, food … it is endless
To serve God by serving others in gratitude
This is a welcoming place to renew my faith in God
For the incredible community and support that exists here, and for the willingness to share, and be aware of those less fortunate in the world. Most of all for Jo’s so obvious joy and love of Christ – the contagion she engenders
I come to begin my week in prayers of thanks
A community of love, new insight on the scripture, and encouragement for the week ahead
Being in church and/or in the sanctuary brings comfort and assurance of the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the chance to thank God for His many blessings
I come to Trinity in particular because it is such a welcoming community and has been as far back as our 1st Sunday here in 1977 with Woody Silvius.  I come to church to praise God, ask forgiveness of sins and thank Him for all the blessings He has bestowed on my family and me as well as those we know and those we do not know
When coming to church, I feel so blessed.  When leaving – what a wonderful church family we have
I regularly come to Trinity to renew and sustain my belief in the mystery of faith and to support God’s love and presence for all.  Be available whenever required. Thanks be to God.
This is my second home and I feel as though all the parishioners are my brothers and sisters
I come to church for strength and to give thanks
This is where my family worshiped.  This is home to me.  My parents are charter members.  So often as a child I would ride my bike and stop to sit in the quietness of the Lord.  (Hearing the acorns fall on the roof!)
I come because I am so grateful and thankful for Jesus, our Lord, and the Holy Spirit and the gifts he brings, the love, how he has helped me, guided me. I feel peace here and share fellowship.
I am here as this is a loving, caring community and the service and sermon I always can take something home for the week.
I come to Trinity because it helps me to see other believers
I come to church because you are not judged; no matter who you are, you are welcome
I come back to Trinity for a sense of peace and restoration
I come to Trinity to feel God’s love and to give His love.
Trinity nurtured our sons, helped them become caring, generous adults.
God has pursued me! My relationship with Trinity is the most important in my life!
God is good!
Because I feel the love of Christ and community and where I can experience solitude and unconditional acceptance

If this sounds like a community where you could continue your own spiritual journey, please join us for worship on Sundays at 8 A.M, 10:30 A.M. 0r 5 P.M. (From mid June into September there is only one service in the morning, at 9 A.M.) For more information visit our website.