Well, it has begun. Last week our flags were taken down and our pipe organ dismantled and sent to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Portland. This weekend marks the last time we will offer any Sacraments or services in our church building. Each one of these events are uncomfortable and even disturbing, for we are all used to these things. We’ve come to expect them in our minds, hearts, and vision when we come to our campus. But, instead of living solely in the sadness of things going away, we must all accept that suffering and dying are necessary parts of life and necessary parts of our spiritual growth. When we accept suffering and death into our lives, we are accepting our cross. When we accept our cross, we are being true disciples of the Lord and only then can resurrection occur. So, I want to encourage us all to truly take in the changes that cause us discomfort and see them for the potential gifts that they can be.
Last week, while on retreat, I came upon this wonderful thought from Thérèse of Lisieux who was quoting a priest, Fr. Almire Pinchon: “The greatest honor that God can pay to anyone is not to give him much but to ask much from him.” God is asking much from us. This transitional time will require us to be uncomfortable at times and even bump into each other at times. We will get to know each other in a much more intimate space, literally we will be closer by the fact that we will be sitting right next to each other! But, this is our grand opportunity to give praise to God and love each other at a more personal level! This is our time to pray for our community that we will grow through our suffering and become the saints we are all called to be. So, praise God for what he is asking from us! In return, pray that our participation in our crosses will bear great fruit not just for our parish, but for all those who come to visit or are wanting to join us in the years to come.
We will be saying goodbye to our current church (honoring our past), and preparing for our new church (building our future). This presents us all a choice. What will you choose? May all our efforts give God the glory, for we choose to serve the Lord (cf. Joshua 24:15).
Fr. William Holtzinger