The Possibilities that Life Holds

Weekly Reflection , Sunday, May 12, 2019

By: David May, Rector

Last week, I met with the Confirmation Class for our final meeting. You should know, they are wonderful, wonderful young people. They are – as far as I’m concerned – the apple of God’s eye. What I appreciate most about them is the way you can see in them – here and there – a little glimpse of who they are as well as who they are becoming. 

They’re finishing up eighth grade which I personally remember being ‘a challenging year’.  For me at least, it was that time where it became clear that I was definitely not a child anymore, but I sure wasn’t an adult yet either. So, if you’re not a child anymore, but you’re not quite an adult, what does that make you? Well, that’s the big question at that age: who am I and what will I be? I remember trying on all kinds of answers:  I’ll be a veterinarian, no, an oceanographer like Jacques Cousteau. No, I’ll be a forest ranger.  For me, it was a long list!

Part of the gift these wonderful young people give to us is a reminder of the possibilities that life holds open for each of us whatever our age and however settled we think we might be. Of course, some things aren’t possibilities anymore. I’m past dreaming that I’ll be an astronaut someday, and maybe you are too. But I am sure that God is never done with us, never. In fact, God is much more interested in what we are becoming than in what we were. A wise friend said to me once, ‘God couldn’t care less about your past. But your future, now that is something that God is very interested in.’ Spending time with these beautiful young people has kept me close to that insight.

It has been a gift to be a part of our confirmands’ journey over these past months. I find them inspiring, smart, funny, intriguing, and good-hearted.  And today, for who they are and what they are becoming, we surround them with our love, prayers, and encouragement. I hope that you find a way to say ‘thank you’ and ‘we love you’ to them. Their lives are already a great gift of our parish, for who we are, and for who we are becoming.

To be Seen and Loved

Weekly Reflection , Sunday, May 5, 2019

By: Amelia McDaniel

I cry at every baptism. Admittedly I am a weeper. But this started early for me. I can’t tell you exactly why but for most of my life, even as a teenager, baptisms have made my feelings come out of my eyes.

We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.

By the time we get to this part of a baptism I’m already a goner. But this part sends me over the top. We are as a community saying to the newly baptized, We see you little one. You are a gift to this whole place, to this whole broken up world. We are going to try to share the story of love we know with you. You belong with us and we belong to you always. If someone walked up to you this morning and held you by the shoulders and said, “I see you. You are so loved. You are just where you should be,” what would you do? My feelings would come out of my eyes for certain.

But this is precisely what I hope happens for our children and youth in some way each time they come here to St. Mary’s. Where else in their lives, except in their homes, do they hear they are unconditionally loved? Where no grade on a test, no ability on an athletic field, no accomplishment at all is necessary to be SEEN and LOVED. The way we treat them helps to shape their understanding of the story of God’s never-ending love for them. Their sense of worth is in part informed by how we greet them and welcome them and model for them what a life lived in the knowledge of God’s love looks like.

This morning at the 11:00 service there will be lots of kids leading and participating in the service. We will recognize 5th graders moving on up to the youth program. We will say goodbye to the seniors who are graduating and heading off to college and early adulthood. And we will say thank you to the many adult volunteers who are the front line of loving up our youngest members here at St. Mary’s. When you see them tell them how proud you are that they are here with your words and with your smiles.