Dear People of Bethlehem,
I find myself in a place to give thanks to God for all that has been and all that is yet to be. I remember as a child standing at the very edge of the diving board. My toes curled over the board, my arms poised above my head, too afraid to dive in, but too uncomfortable to stand there cold and wet, with the scratchy board under my feet and my heart in my throat. There was nothing to do but take to the water. The space in between was never meant to last. It feels like its time to take to the water. To enter into tomorrow’s blessing, whatever it may be. There is some apprehension to be sure, but this space was never meant to last.
And I am grateful. For what has been and for the lessons along the road. And more grateful still for the anticipation, the newness in the air. It is time for God’s new thing, and we are blessed to be a part of it — together. It is time to plant something, and I can feel it rising among us. It seems we are always running after the Spirit, because she has wings, and we do not.
But beloved of God, we have an unsurpassed gift in one another, and that is the gathered community. It is our greatest gift and our deepest asset. We cannot do this alone. Individual spirituality is an important gift, but it is the community we desperately need now. And that, the pandemic has taught us. We must come together and tell the old, old story and sing together our deepest songs. We each bring our own wisdom, compassion and courage and we need each other if we are to live into God’s new and unfolding grace. And so we come together bearing our individual stories, for the sake of all that we might learn in each other’s company. Together we sing the songs of this new day and together we have the gifts and strength for all that lies ahead. Together, we serve and bless this world. If you have not come to church in a while, I invite you, for the grace you will find here and the grace you will offer us. If you are with us each Sunday, God bless you for the gift you give us. The swimming pool of my childhood was never as joyous as when it was full of too many kids, all drenched together. In the waters of baptism, we are drenched together in grace. And that is how God meant it to be. All are welcome!
Your sister in Christ,