This past week felt like “the calm before the storm.”  It was the last of the summer holidays, a time for what is supposed to be a quieter, slower rhythm of life.  I am not sure that it is quieter or slower for many of us, although quiet and a slower pace of life are fine things, things that we should seek out and aspire to for our own spiritual and emotional well-being.

Nonetheless, the summer has sped by, or so it seems.  Many families are busy preparing for the start of the upcoming school year, and we are poised to begin what the church often calls our program year, next Sunday, September 9th.  This simply means that after a summer hiatus, we will begin offering weekly Sunday School classes for children again at 10am.  It also means that the choir will return to their important role of leading us in the worship of God through music.  I am very much looking forward to all of this.  It is a day worth celebrating, and we will celebrate with ice cream sundaes.

This Fall promises to be a busy season at Church of the Holy Apostles.  There will be opportunities for special worship, including special opportunities to re-unite and honor the parish that founded and funded this church 68 years ago.  We will continue to prepare for our bishop’s official visit in December, at which point he will confirm a whole gaggle of our young people in their faith in Jesus Christ.  There will be numerous and varied opportunities to engage in our faith in deeper ways through study and prayer.  There will be many joyous moments this Fall, including especially a baptism and two weddings.  In October we will have a Celebration of New Ministry which includes my official installation as the Rector of your church, and a commemoration of 50 years of Holy Apostles functioning as a self-supporting parish.

In all of this it will be important to remind ourselves again and again why we are doing what we are doing.  Our services and rituals are not empty, and our celebrations of life’s special moments are not in vain.  They all point toward and participate in Something bigger and more important than us.  We do what we do in order to glorify God.  We do what we do in order to immerse ourselves more deeply and fully into the rhythms of divine life into which God invites us.  And, we do what we do in order to invite others to join us on this journey of faith and blessing.  I am going to need reminders of all that in the coming months; to be reminded that being busy for its own sake is not a virtue; to be reminded that being grounded in the present moment and aware of God’s blessing in the daily rhythms of life is far more rewarding and life-giving than being caught up in the hustle and bustle of our society, or in trying to live up to some standard of efficiency and worldly success.  So, on this Labor Day weekend, take a deep breath and join me in remembering Who made you and why.  Remember and recount the blessings of this short and transitory life: your family and your friends, most of all.  Then—with hearts full of love and despite the cares and occupations of the week ahead—be sure to come to church next week for ice cream.

James+

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