The readings this weekend talk about the many ways God chooses us, cares for us, calls us to mission and accompanies us as we 'walk the walk and talk the talk' of being a Christian. The readings reminded me of another reading from Jeremiah where the prophet hears God say: "work for the good of the land to which I send you, for on it's welfare, yours depends" (Jer. 29:7)
As we move into the summer days in NYC I find myself with time to breath, time to reflect, time to plan for the year to come. And as I reflect, I find myself very grateful for all God has done and is doing in my life.
Yesterday, I took a break from the computer and went out to sit on the front steps of the parish house for a little bit. Surprisingly enough, the first person I saw was someone I knew from my last parish assignment. I said hello quickly before she vanished into the rushing 96th St crowd. She was surprised I saw her and said hello. We chatted for only a few minutes as she was in a rush...but one of the things she said as we ended our conversation was this: "you were so lucky, you went from one parish to another so quickly"! (and since my former place of employment is slated to close/merge this month...even more lucky)!
I do feel lucky to be here at St Francis. More than lucky, I feel blessed. I feel like God absolutely led me here, to this place, in this time. Therefore, I feel so very grateful. I am grateful for all the good things that have happened this past year, for the people I've met, the opportunities I've been given to grow professionally, as a parish minister. I'm grateful for the things that made me smile, and the things that challenged be to stretch my understanding of myself and others. In the midst of a larger church that is changing and struggling to find its equilibrium, the people here at St Francis are good, and faithful, and caring and committed to trying to live Gospel values. I am grateful to be among them.
In the Gospel Jesus says "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave". I think of our parishioners here at St Francis. So many folks find this church when they move into the neighborhood because of a job opportunity. While they are here in the city, they make this place their church home. For one year, for five, for however long they are living here. And they get involved! Our challenge is to get to know one another quickly and work together well. This fast paced ministry turnover is quite a challenge! It's hard on the heart too, you get to know a family or a couple or a great individual and before you can blink they are moving on to wherever God is calling them next. Sigh.
So, while we have the time together, let us be grateful. Let us work for the good of this parish God gives us. Let us enjoy each other and our neighborhood at brunch this Sunday at noon, or with lemonade on our urban 'front porch'. Please know how much I am looking forward to getting to know you better!