This is a summer of celebration! As Episcopalians, we are celebrating the election of The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, as the Presiding Bishop elect… we are Crazy Christians on The Way! The Fourth of July celebration is coming up, and it follows a June filled with celebrations: celebrations of life and burial services for people with long standing and deep ties with St Philips and the Valley; welcoming friends and family including Eleanor, Carole, Scott, Krisanne, Doug and Beth – so many lovely people!; the baptism of little Warren, Barb and Warren Hall’s grandson; last Sunday, the festive, outdoor in-the-tent service of celebration of new ministry- What a joy to have The Rev Canon Lou Blanchard, many friends and visitors, the younger folks leading us with joyful words, presence, fun and play! With the beautiful backdrop of the mountains, cattle, and valley as the context for the celebration of new life and ministry at St. Philips, we were sent forth to go about our lives, caring for all those in need, for all those who are hurting, tired, or sick, for who the Lord sends us to love in God’s name. Joy!
Oh, June has indeed been filled with times of sharing worship in the beauty of holiness, and celebrating our life together! But if you were thinking that it might be time to take a breather, put our feet up, and just wile away the remaining months of summer…. well, sorry – with God there is always more – and we have more that is celebratory, and more that requires us to come with willing hearts and hands to serve – and it is all grand!!
July begins with Mike and Cindy’s story of their trip to and work in Nepal. Following the services, there is the Newcomers’ Welcome Lunch and Greeting with sharing of stories of the journeys to this time place of both we newcomers and St. Philip-in-the-Field as
a whole. Bring a potluck dish to share, or just drop in and see what’s happening- All
are Welcome! The following Sunday, July 12, at the 8 o’clock service, Pat P. will be inducted into the prayerful and humble service of the Daughters of the King. What a blessing that will be for all! Also on July 12, between services we will have group discussion #2 of Searching for Sunday, and after the 10:00 service, there will be a fundraiser for Nepal Relief efforts – please come and help as you are able. Ending July, we will have the joy and honor of celebrating another baptism as we welcome little Kenzie to the family of God, to be with us, a Crazy Christian!
August begins with the parish Picnic and Homecoming Celebration of people near and far who have been part of St. Philip-in-the-Field over the years. Make plans and invite anyone who might like to come to Homecoming to mark their calendar. Saturday August 1 is clean-up, spruce-up day; Sunday August 2 begins with Morning Prayer in the church at 8:00; 8:30 is set up the tent and church for outside worship; following the 10:00 service, there will be a wonderful picnic lunch. Fun! Yes, we will play! : )
So… there is more time of celebration yet to come before the summer draws to an end and the fall school and regular church year events resume.
Accompanying us in this summer of celebration, the Gospel readings will be bringing our attention to the ever-constant tension in the life of faith: at the very same time that Jesus feeds us with his very self, and brings us comfort, joys and celebrations, the world around us is broken and hurting. If we lose sight of God’s goodness and grace and healing in it, we may, like Peter, take a look around at the storm and sink in the stormy sea of doubt and distress. August readings invite us to sit and truly immerse ourselves in the wonder of Christ present: in the bread and wine we share; in the midst of our storms; in the midst of doubt and despair; in the midst of joy and celebration. Opening our eyes to this truth is at once awesome, baffling, and humbling… and overwhelmingly filled with joy and thanksgiving.
In all of this and more, Jesus calls us to trust, to keep moving on, to remember that he has overcome the world… that he is with us always… even to the end of the age. And so take heart! Have courage! Be devoted in prayers, persevere in doing good. In it all, so trust that God is bringing all things to perfection, that whether you celebrate or struggle, whether you have faith or are in doubt, are strong or weak, or tired… you nevertheless persevere. We are all in this together, and God is with us. That is the Good News this summer and always. Thanks be to God!
May God’s Peace be with you!