What a week it has been.
Last week I said farewell to a church family that we have been loved by and been in love with for nearly 14 years. Seven days later I was standing in front my new church family as one adopted and we were getting to know one another for the first time.
And what a wonderful Sunday it was. I found myself thinking of my friend Joe Pastovich who has often reminded me of the words of Tolkien from Lord of the Rings. Joe would say of last Sunday, “A star shines on the hour of our meeting.” A ‘Star’ did indeed rise on the hour of our meeting at St. Aidan’s. This ‘Star’ has not just risen and shone, but has promised to continue to shine on us as we discern each other’s gifts and how we might best use them to build the Reign of God in Northwest London. Scripture reminds us that this Star is to be with us as we journey together. This Star is the One of whom Jesus spoke: “I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. The Companion, the Holy Spirit (The Star), whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you. ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.’” There was no doubt in my mind that the Companion/Comforter/Advocate/Spirit/Star was with us and ‘shining on us’ as we came together for the first time as priest and parishioner this past week. From the kind welcome of the first attendees at 8 am to the gentle and kind welcome from our youngest prophets at the offering, to the fine serving of strawberries and ice cream, God’s love was reflected in the people of God in our community.
As wonderful as it was to behold that the Star rose to shine on the hour of our meeting, the Word hit us squarely between the eyes and reminded us that we need to get going. There is work to be done;
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bags, and no money in their belts. He told them to wear sandals but not to put on two shirts. He said, “Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. If a place doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, as you leave, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should change their hearts and lives. They cast out many demons, and they anointed many sick people with olive oil and healed them.
It is clear to me that we have many gifts for ministry at St. Aidan’s and the potential for us to change hearts, and bring healing Love to our community is great. Great considering what we need to take is ourselves and little else. We are to simplify our witness and follow the way of Jesus. The Star that sustains us as we disciple wants us to remember the witness of Jesus who loved, healed, shared, proclaimed, feed, clothed, forgave, embraced, ate, drank, wept, laughed, suffered, celebrated, and lived among the people. We have been called to know that the Star that rose on the hour of our meeting now calls us to get busy and make the way of Jesus real in Northwest London. Are you ready…..?