August 30th, 2013 by Carl Buffington
Waiting is always a challenge, sometimes more than others. This morning was one of those more than others times. I was in a surgical waiting room with the mother of a two month old watching the sunrise and the hands of the wall clock move ever so laboriously. We were making waiting type conversation. We had prayed and now we waited. Waited for the surgeon to walk through the doors with good news.
As we waited I watched a young couple wait by burying their attention into their phones. Thumbs moving rapidly, eyes stilled on their devices, not so much as glance toward each other. Another young mother across from us actually, surprisingly, looked up from her attention grabbing device, which was larger than a phone, to share about her waiting for her three year old to come through her surgery.
That’s the way it used to be in these waiting rooms, people sharing with people, sharing their concerns, caring for one another while waiting. I don’t know what they were receiving from their phones but I know they were missing some pretty precious moments.
A couple days earlier I had been at the beach waiting for, well a breeze, watching our grandkids being creative with simple sand. A young couple plopped their blanket down near by. I wondered if they calculated the distance a three year old could send sand? I suspected they were close to in range, a bit risky, but we would see. So I waited. I’m not kidding, I couldn’t believe it, they unfolded their beach chairs, sat down and immediately disappeared into their whatever’s, I suppose phones. What were they doing? More importantly, what were they missing? -- God’s creation -- the ocean, maybe a dolphin, a junonia, an olive or a conk, or a sand crab, or our precious grandkids? I don’t even think a launched fist full of sand could have awakened them.
It’s easier than ever I suppose to miss the important, the precious, and the presence of God in a moment. Waiting, expectant waiting, waiting with the expectation that there is something holy near by, about to break into our lives makes life alive with anticipation, expectation, and excitement.
I want to share some things I hope you will not miss, that include some waiting.
Don’t miss “Closer.” The idea is to simply set aside a time (First Fridays) for us to come closer to our Lord, to perhaps wait expectantly. So next Friday, 9/6, at 7 p.m. everyone is invited to meet in the sanctuary. Fr. Dave McDaniel is the coordinator for this first meeting and here is what he sees as a very loose agenda.
“The three components of our gathering will be worship (Sara and company),
prayer (intercessory and healing), and body ministry (prophetic, gifts of the spirit).
I am not limiting our time together to these things, but it is how I’m seeing it now.”
To be honest, it’s hard for me to imagine a better way to spend part of an evening than drawing closer to our Lord by waiting on him so as not miss him. It certainly beats’ staring into your phone.
Don’t miss this the small group campaign for Fall 2013. We are calling it, “In His Presence.” We are putting together a six-week series on His presence in mission, ministry, worship, word, prayer, and Holy Spirit. A more complete introduction follows this letter. We are really excited about this and we hope everyone will participate.
So much is missed because it goes on behind the scenes. I wish I could share more of what I hear from members of the staff and you all. Here’s a piece of an email sent to Cindy at the office this week from someone who was blessed by a parishioner responding to a need in her home.
What kind of church is this? Secret spiritual SWAT Team members
Involved in serious warfare are masquerading as quiet unassuming
Anglican parishioners. I'm speaking specifically of __X.
__X arrived today, having cleared his schedule to accommodate my
lunchtime availability. He walked in like a man on a mission, full of
prayer, compassion, and expertise. What a refreshing encounter!
Not long ago, listening to a Bible CD, I reflected on David's might
men, wondering if there were any men like them today, filled with
devotion and integrity. Today the answer became clear. God's Spirit
is alive and well in our midst. Bless the Lord!
We wanted to let you know that we are giving the Fall Festival a sabbatical rest, or year of jubilee, and are not going to offer it this year. There are a number of things that contributed to this decision including the possibility that the need it originally was responding to is no longer there, i.e. there are now a plethora of fall festivals.
The year began well with giving but summer has taken it’s toll. June and July were each on average $10,000 below what we budgeted. I don’t know yet the numbers for August and obviously hope this slump has been broken. If you have taken the summer off from giving, well, fall is almost here. We have been able to continue to help those with needs, buy some needed new equipment for the worship ministry, and send Fr. Christopher to Africa from a generous discretionary gift that is not part of the operating budget. We are hoping and trusting this is just a summer slump. And we want to be sure to say many thanks to you all who continue to give so faithfully.
Blessed Labor Day Weekend to You All,
PS And a final PTL, the surgery this morning went well!
At the heart of our theme, In His Presence, is our vision statement that is on our Sunday bulletin each week -- TRANSFORMATION FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS. We are going to look at HOW we are transformed in six different, but overlapping arenas.
But first, we need to say that we believe that it is our Lord’s desire that his children be transformed, that is, grow, develop, and mature in their spiritual lives, just as we expect our children to grow and mature in their physical and emotional lives. God wants us to grow and wants to be part of that process. And the purpose of our growth is so that we can more fully love and serve our Lord and others. We do indeed expect to mature then as children of light and as citizens of his kingdom, and wholeheartedly believe this is God’s plan for his people.
We are going to look at six different arenas where He has promised to be present with us… these are – in Mission, Ministry, Worship, Word, Prayer, and the Holy Spirit. The way we are going to look at this is using the opening of the New Testament -- the four gospels and Acts. We are convinced that as we venture into these arenas with one another, we will experience exciting changes in our lives.
- Matthew opens with Immanuel, that is -- means, God with us. The close of Matthew’s gospel sends us out to do, to teach people to obey, to make disciples and it concludes with a promise that he will be with us to the end. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It’s God’s promise of his presence in MISSION.
- Mark opens with Jesus baptism, no Christmas story here, it’s right to calling and equipping for ministry. And it ends with all sorts of ministry going on -- go, preach, baptize, and all sorts of miraculous signs and wonders will accompany your ministry. I will be with you, nothing will harm you!
It’s God’s promise of his presence in MINISTRY.
- Luke opens in the temple. People are expectantly waiting for Messiah, and they are not disappointed. He comes to them in the temple and they respond with worship. His gospel closes in the temple with his people worshipping -- the last verse reads -- And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
And so we have the promise of his presence in WORSHIP.
- John opens with THE WORD OF GOD. You all are familiar with the prologue I’m sure … In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word of God became flesh and was with us. And he closes with, well basically, too many words. (John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.) That is, all of us filled with the Holy Spirit going forth as enacted, enlivened, living words of God. Now alive and living in his story.
The promise of his presence in his WORDS.
- Acts -- Then we will look at two dominant words in the Acts of the Apostles -- Prayer and Holy Spirit, and we will see how we discover God’s imminent presence here as well. You really can’t miss the presence of God in Luke’s journal here and the part that both prayer and the Holy Spirit play in the life of the early church.
And the point of his presence? It is for our development, maturity, growth, and transformation. And the purpose of that growth? It is for the sake of others!
As you join us -- we will find ourselves pursuing the purpose and meaning for our lives. And as we venture into his transforming presence we cannot help but discover, perhaps inch by inch, perhaps by leaps and bounds, but either way we will discover who we are created to be in Christ Jesus our Lord and realize that our destiny as his children is to live with him and in him in this world and in the world to come.
There is no greater adventure -- period. Join us.