March 16, 2016
Morning Office Readings: Psalm 119:145-176; Exodus 7:8-24, 2 Cor. 2:14-3:6 Mark 10:1-16
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3.1-3
St. Paul is writing to one of the churches that he founded. He’s feeling a little threatened by some who came behind him and tried to move the church in ways he thought were not faithful to the good news of Jesus. In this short passage, he’s trying to reassert his authority over the church by saying that his authority comes from the gospel that they are living out. They are proof of his authority.
I don’t have any illusions about comparing myself to Paul, and I’m real clear that I neither founded Holy Trinity, nor that I am responsible for the decades-long health that it has lived out. But if any of you ever wonder if what you do at the parish has any value, if it matters, let me reflect back to you the day I have had.
8:30-9:30: got a physical for a new insurance policy because your Treasurer figured out a way to save the parish a little money AND give the full-time employees a better benefits package.
9:30-11:00: went for a walk with a parishioner who has moved away, and we talked about the lives that were changed by good leadership in his new parish, and how important it is for children to have templates of healthy, loving relationships.
11:15-12:00: talked with a parishioner who has worked for months to set up a concert for Decatur this Sunday night, and how we could show good hospitality for the singers.
12:30-1:15: visited a parishioner at her work in a hospital, where she cares for newborns with serious illness or developmental problems, and sees life at its most vulnerable and raw. She introduced me to the chaplain for the NICU. “Y’all take care of us so we can take care of them,” she said.
1:30-2:00: visited with a parishioner who’s experiencing an profound and difficult life change, and about how to let all this person’s parish friends learn the news in a way that is healthy and helpful.
2:00-2:30: spoke on the phone with a parishioner who has helped direct weddings at Holy Trinity since childhood, and who takes seriously the delicate balance between honoring our traditions and making the day special for the three weddings on the books this spring.
3:30-5:00: visited with a new parishioner who has some expertise in youth ministry and helped me think through and organize some of the tasks that we need to do in order to make the pilgrimage and our regular youth activities happen.
5:00-6:00: talked with Mother Jenna about a tricky diocesan issue, and listened as she moved the issue to its heart, the health and ministry of a potential future colleague.
6:30-7:00: the vestry got a tour of the DEAM offices from one of the directors and the chair of the board, so that we could know more closely about the great work they do there. Over 2,000 families helped in 2015!
7:00-8:30: the vestry worked through its agenda, including a lengthy discussion over the formation of a long-range planning committee for Holy Trinity. The conversation got especially fruitful when we started trying to focus on what kinds of ministry God might be calling us to 10, 20 years from now.
A full day, to be sure. But a very good day. So many of you focused on helping other people, on moving through difficult times in a healthy way, on what the next generation of folks at Holy Trinity might need to served their community, and on and on.
You yourselves are your letter of recommendation; you show that you are a letter of Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.