Rev. Jim Horton
Earlier this morning we offered these words in prayer from our Collect for the Day: “Grant, O merciful God, that your church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord….”. This prayer, “that your church, being gathered together”, speaks to God’s universal church but equally important and significant in my mind, God is speaking to this very precious church family of St. Thomas, Bath. The other significant phrase, about being together in unity, is the idea that because of that unity, this parish family can show forth God’s power among all peoples.
As I mentioned last week, your parish family will begin a new journey by welcoming a new Rector into this part of God’s family. Your parish was established in 1734, the oldest in North Carolina. There is so much to be grateful for in that history and that is fine, yet Dag Hammarskjold, former Secretary General of the United Nations, has given us human folk another challenge when he said, “For all that has been, THANKS. For all that will be, YES!”
This parish family, St. Thomas, is called again to show forth the power and worth of what it means to be both a follower and an ambassador of our Lord Jesus Christ. As in any human family, so with a parish family, there will be times when really neat things will be accomplished and times when a family member might ask, where did that come from or why are we changing this, whatever this is. That is a part of any family’s life. Those questions raised within a family can be healthy and worthwhile, but only if it is asked with care, seeking the growth and well-being of the family and not out of frustration or anger. There are times when I have asked a choir director, where did that hymn or chant come from and sometimes that was asked with sincerity but I must admit, sometimes it lacked common decency.
We all are part of this precious, historic parish family. We are called to be in attendance and share this worshipping experience with one another. We are also called to participate and value offering our gifts and talents whether it be ushers,
readers, acolytes, choir members, altar guild members or Vestry persons. This is God’s parish family, but it is the place where each of us is called to be strengthened, enlightened, empowered and comforted to be of value to one another and God’s ambassadors to those outside these doors. It is a place where hope and dreams are to be encouraged and varying opinions can be heard and hopefully be of value to the life and ministry of this parish family.
God has blessed St. Thomas with an historic and valuable ministry. A new journey begins shortly; we are assured of God’s continued blessing and it is the parish family’s responsibility to accept that blessing and carry it forth to strengthen the St. Thomas family and the community and world as we are called to be ambassadors, sending forth God’s grace and power to all those whom we touch in life.