Friday, October 08 2021
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thomas Merton)
This past week the clergy of the Diocese of Long Island met for a clergy day. The bishop mentioned that many clergy were retiring and that several had taken ill this past week. This pandemic has taken its toll on all of us. We are weary of the threat of catching Covid and the divisions that have been amplified during the pandemic. I heard on the news that a whistleblower accused Facebook of profiting from creating division on its platform. At times like these, I love to refer to Thomas Merton’s famous quote. It reminds us that Christ is with us and it is all right to move ahead (even if our path is unclear). Bishop Provenzano reminded us to help our parishioners deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ. This is essential for our spiritual and physical health.
As Jesus is setting out for a journey, a man kneels before him and asks, “What must I do to have eternal life?” The Greek word for eternal is aionion. The definition for eternal in this week’s Gospel message is life from God. Jesus Christ who was, is, and will come again helps us to understand what a life in God means. Eternal life comes through the grace of God and not through our own effort. We are asked to believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. We pray to God and follow the example of Jesus Christ the best we can. We come to church to hear the Word of God and to be in communion with Jesus through a continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again. When we give of ourselves for the sake of others, we feel the peace that passes all understanding. This is a foretaste of the eternal life that we will experience in the next life.
At St. John’s our mission is to know Christ and to make him known. Our priorities are our children, hospitality, mission, outreach, stewardship, and pastoral care. Every year we have our entire congregation work together on the ECW Harvest Fair. We will raise a substantial amount of money that will be distributed by the ECW (women of the parish) to local charities. A donation will also be made for the continued ministry at St. John’s. I ask each of you to fully participate in this year’s Harvest Fair on October 23rd. I would especially encourage our newcomers to volunteer. There is a sense family at St. John’s that you will be a part of when you volunteer at the Harvest Fair. When we try and align ourselves with the purpose of God, we can experience this feeling of purpose and good will.
Our Harvest Fair gives each of us the opportunity to use everything we have to benefit the ministry of St. John’s and charities in our community. I believe that when we give a little of ourselves, our gifts, and our money to benefit those who are less fortunate than ourselves, we are following Jesus Christ. If we believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, we too will be inheritors of eternal life, both now and in the Kingdom to come.
In Christ’s love,