A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, February 4, 2018
By: Tracey Ragsdale, Senior Warden
Henri Nouwen, in his book Bread for the Journey writes, “How do we wait for God? We wait with patience. But patience does not mean passivity. Waiting patiently is not like waiting for the bus to come, the rain to stop, or the sun to rise. It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the one we are waiting for.
The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior, which means ‘to suffer.’ Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing the first rays of God’s glorious coming.”
I believe St. Mary’s is a beautiful depiction of this description of waiting. Yes, we are waiting for our new rector, but we are doing it in such an active, forward thinking manner that I believe God is pleased. I am amazed at how we have not missed a beat since Weezie’s departure. The staff is amazing. Every single one of them have stepped up, cheerfully assuming additional responsibilities. This place is a well-oiled machine! I sat in on a recent staff meeting and I’d put our staff up against any major corporation on organization and efficiency. Mission trips are being finalized. Pastoral care teams are thriving. Our music continues to get better. Even more impressive is how they are tackling new initiatives. As I said to the staff, my heart is happy to see not only how well they run our business but also at the care and compassion that they have for each other. We are blessed.
Which leads me to the work of the search committee. We are fortunate that we can take our time and listen for God’s calling knowing that the day to day activities are well in hand. The committee is a wonderful combination of ages, skills, backgrounds, and ideas but are bound together by their love of St. Mary’s and their commitment to find the next and best rector. Joan Wilkins, our committee chaplain leads us in the following prayer at each meeting.
“Guide our minds and hearts so that we will work for the good of our church family and all your people. Teach us to be generous in our outlook, courageous in face of difficulty and wise in our decisions. May your wisdom, love, and grace strengthen us in this endeavor.”
We wait with patience, but not passivity. I look around and yes, my heart is happy.