Voice of the Vestry: Resurrection and Rebirth

by Barb Dancer, Senior Warden

Mary sobbed, alone – Jesus was gone.  Angels appeared.  And then Jesus himself appeared – but she didn’t recognize him.  Not until he spoke her name:   “Mary…”

How many times have we done the same?  Lost in despair, feeling alone.  But there are angels.  And there is Jesus.  She dismissed him as the gardener.  How many times have we done that?  How many times have we not truly seen the person in front of us?  We make assumptions, focused on our own grief and trauma.  Mary had been through a lot.  But she almost missed seeing Jesus because she was lost in herself.  Yet he called her by name:  “Mary…”  And she finally heard him, finally recognized him.

It’s hard sometimes to stop crying, especially when we have been through a lot.  But the Gospel calls us to do just that – stop focusing on our own issues to really look and truly listen – look for God among us, listen for our name – look and listen for our calling from God.  Like Mary, we need to understand that while things have changed and maybe appear to have gotten worse, they in fact have not – things have actually gotten so much better.  Jesus was not dead and he was not gone.  He was born again.  He rose from the dead.  He was transformed – transformed into something so new, that upon first glance, his good friend didn’t recognize him.  Until he called her name…”Mary…”  To see the Risen Christ, Mary had to let go of the past – let go of the Jesus on the cross, let go of the Jesus in the tomb, let go of the body missing from the tomb.  Our God calls us to let go of the pain and focus on the resurrection.

As we all know, our church is in a time of change.  Calling a new rector is an exciting process.  But change can be scary at the same time it is exciting.  Pulling together as a church community, we must focus on the positives – we have so much to be thankful for.  At this time of resurrection and rebirth, we prayerfully support each other in our church ministry.  Grace is an amazing place, full of great people focused on doing God’s will.  Our outreach programs make a big impact in our community.  Our church ministries enhance our experience of welcome and relationships and help us grow together.  The things we do make a difference.  Whether it’s serving on the roof committee (thank you to the team that made that happen!), or joining the new elevator committee – we all need to engage in the positive transformation of Grace.  Each of us is challenged to look and listen to our calling from God.

What is our calling as Grace Church?  Our mission statement attempts to summarize: 

We are an Episcopal Church committed to

Welcome, Relationships, Outreach and the Transformational Power of the Spirit.

Our Lenten study series explored ways we can better welcome people into our community, both within Grace, and out among the world.  Further to that, a small team will be heading down to Midland for a seminar called “Invite, Welcome, Connect”.  We are excited to bring back what we learn and apply it within our church.  Our new website will be ready soon which is a key step to continue in the process for our new rector search.  We are establishing committees to look at specific building and grounds needs.  There is a lot going on at Grace – it’s an exciting time of growth, change, rebirth and resurrection.

What is your calling?  What is God asking you to look at and truly see?  How can we continue to work together to bring the transformational power of the Holy Spirit into action within Grace?  I think the answer lies in focusing on the resurrection, the rebirth, the promise of the future.  In other words, by our being God’s grace in action, within our church and among our community.  God Bless.

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