This past month I have had the joy of introducing St. Andrew's to Susan and Kim, our new staff members. And really to re-meet Susan, Kim, and Eric alike (and with my deep gratitude) in this "new staff." After a year and a half among you, it has been a great chance to re-introduce myself to St. Andrew's as well, as I tell about our community... The icons of Sandy Strang, the story of two organs, the story of our Memorial Garden magnolia, and peeking again into the attic above the worship space, where there is a cross covered in lightbulbs, and a long-discarded brass altar rail sinking into the insulation and hollow wall cavity.
...Walking into the Atrium like Gulliver among the Lilliputians, to share the joyful discovery that goes on there. Trying to describe Making Your Mark Art Camp, which really has to be seen to be believed. And likewise Family Promise, which is a beautiful hustle and bustle that is best known by sharing a meal or sleeping over, rather than in words alone.
...Preparing for Holy Week liturgies, which for all their universality, are so particular to each congregation, each space, each layering of customs down through the years.
It seems to me that after a month of storytelling, I have barely begun to introduce our newest staff members to the fullness of St. Andrew's. And I feel again small myself before the vastness of prayer offered in our church, and before the gallons of sweat (to be frank) given in care of our buildings and property to sustain them as useful, beautiful space. Before the generations of small steps into justice; in a parish built long before the Civil War, so many waves of Suffrage, Desegregation, Gay Rights, and much else that we are, by the grace of God, growing through and into.
In the spirit of that part of Lent that is about looking out to the horizon, to the cross and then to the empty tomb, my imagination is kindled to imagine what beautiful saint's story will some day be told about our current young ones, or what aesthetic choice we will laugh about in years to come and leave to molder in a sub-basement, or what new light will break out in our liturgy, or what act of justice we will lever our souls into next, in the years to come.
I do not feel hasty about these things, but just grateful to know they are coming, just as surely as they have come before. Because that's who we are and are becoming. This is what we do and will do.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God's servants, working together; you are God's field, God's building.
That's from the Apostle Paul writing to the church in Corinth. Humility, Celebration, expectant Joy, Participation, inextricable Community...I'll take it all, with thanksgiving, this Lent.