A Different Way to Offer God our Praise

Weekly Reflection, Friday, April 9

By: David May, Rector

I want to tell you a resurrection story. It’s a story about how something immoveable and impassable – like the great stone sealing Jesus’ tomb – and something that we couldn’t possibly move ourselves, was moved anyway. And how the emptiness of our church buildings – like Jesus’ empty tomb – only meant we would find him alive out in the world.

Over this past year plus some, we have not been in Little St. Mary’s and New St. Mary’s together to sing God’s praises and to give God ‘the proper service of our lives’. That way has been closed. Blocked off. Impassible and immoveable. But, following an Outreach Committee meeting this past February, I realized something: another way to offer God our praises had been opened. I realized – with the weight of God’s holy love – that we had continued to give God praise in a different way, with a different voice. I realized that we had been doing it all year in so many ways through our ministries of Outreach.

Looking back, whenever word got out to the people of St. Mary’s Church that we were gathering food or clothing or money or items to furnish the sober-living apartment we pledged to help create for CARITAS, or an emergency appeal to please help feed our friends in Ecuador for this coming month, or we needed gift cards to give for our friends at Peter Paul Development Center, or when our Finance Committee with passion and heart and determination said we must fully support the work of our Outreach partners, or an out-of-work chef needed our kitchen to help prepare food to feed doctors and nurses in the early days of the pandemic, or when a teenager and a 10-year old asked for help to feed the hungry, you said, ‘Yes!’ and, ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow!’ sounded from our congregation. And I will never forget, not in this world or through God’s mercy the next, that when CARITAS asked last March when we were all so afraid, ‘can our women come and stay with you; we will understand if you say no’, that we said, ‘yes!’ as a confession of our faith in Jesus, as mighty as if we were all together in church saying as one body, ‘We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.’

This resurrection story is one that reveals that God has given us a different way to offer God our praise and thanksgiving. This is a resurrection story that has shown us – please God, we never forget!’ – that outreach is not a ‘program’ of the church, but a confession of our faith and at the heart of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ, and our ‘proper service to God’. Alleluia!