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Becoming God's New Thing: Second Edition

Perceiving and cooperating with the good things God "is getting up to" in and around our parish.

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you see it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

Giving Ourselves Away - The Best Surrender

An often-overlooked spark of divinity that resides in all humanity is the impulse to commit ourselves entirely to the people and things we love passionately. In a very real sense, we give ourselves away to our heart’s desires. Giving ourselves away is a wonderful turn of phrase - not only does it indicate self-surrender, but it also speaks to a quality of vulnerability and transparency. We somehow can’t keep our love a secret.  

And it’s not just romantic love; it is the woman who rings the bell at the chemo center indicating that she has just completed her last treatment, and who, as she gets on the elevator, can’t help but tell the two strangers that today was her last day. Can you see the faces of the strangers light up at the news? Can you see them spontaneously offer a shout of joy and a hug? Or, it’s the formerly incarcerated man I learned about recently who recalled the feeling he had after his first day of employment. He said, “I got on the bus, all sweaty but really happy. And I couldn’t help myself, I started telling strangers, ‘I just finished my first day of work. Just got back from my first day on the job.’” He seems to have given himself over to the new job and couldn’t help “giving himself away” with his excitement and pride.

This is just the quality and depth of love that God feels for us and for all creation. God surrendered entirely into the human condition and into our care. We are created in God’s image; we see God in ourselves, and we see the divine impulse to give ourselves entirely over to the people, communities, and activities that we feel passionately about. 

This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany - the momentous event when the purposes of God were revealed in a shining star that brought together wise ones from the farthest reaches of the world, joining forces to find, worship, and give the Christ child treasured gifts.

Whether you have made your pledge or still need to do so, we will receive and bless financial pledges for 2024. As you prepare for Sunday, please ask yourself this: “Is Saint John’s worthy of giving myself over to and away for?”  If you are unsure, ask yourself this question: “Might Saint John’s be the community and place where God intends me and our neighbors to realize the deepest longings of our hearts?”  This Sunday, we will each answer these questions for ourselves and our families in the financial pledges we make.

Stay tuned for the next stage of our stewardship campaign, when in the coming weeks, we'll have the chance to address these questions as they relate to the gifts of energy, talent, and time.  For now, treasure in your hearts the knowledge that God's passionate, self-surrendering love is abroad in the world, and is generating new and wonderful things within our parish and neighborhood.  May it always be so. 

With great love, gratitude and hope, 


Postscript:  This will be the "good-enough" post. There will be times when I won't have the benefit of a good copy editor, and I am slightly dyslexic, so I won't likely catch many mistakes. You may find this off-putting. I find it mildly embarrassing. We'll get through it together. M+

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