Sunday, May 8, 2011

Easter III

  • The morning broke bright and fair, continuing yesterday's almost magical ambience. As the liturgy was not until 10, and only a few yards from where we were staying, it was a welcome gentle start to the day. Brenda and I managed to get a brief walk in, drinking in the Mayberry-esque atmosphere. It was already in the mid-70s by 9:30am.
  • In all, there were a dozen people in church, and I have to say, the service had more life to it than many much-better attended celebrations I have been present for. I was especially impressed by the singing. St James' was consecrated in 1882 by my predecessor ten times removed, Bishop George Seymour. It is one of the architectural treasures of the diocese. 
  • My homily was unscripted, so I have nothing to post. There was plenty of rich material in today's readings that can connect to St James' in its present state. Their buildings and grounds are simultaneously a gift and an albatross. Yet, as St Peter told both the listening crowd in Jerusalem and the newly-baptized readers of his first epistle, their baptismal identity assures them of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the altar at which they are fed is where they know the risen Christ present in the breaking of the bread, their hearts having first burned within them through the proclamation of the Word of God.
  • A brunch back in the Parish House capped off our visit, accompanied by some candid discussion. This is a rather agonizing moment in the life cycle of the congregation, and I hope I left them with the sense that they are not alone in their agony, that their Chief Pastor, and--manifest in him--the Good Shepherd himself, stands in that difficult place with them. These are precious people, and I was deeply moved by what I witnessed in McLeansboro.

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