“The Acts” : the Rector’s message for October

September began and ended for me with school class reunions— the first, my 40th from West Point and the latter, my 45th from St. Stephen’s School for Boys, an Episcopal Day School in Alexandria, Virginia. There were some similarities and some differences in those events. People who had shared many experiences got together and many stories were shared. People were reminded of people and events they may not have otherwise remembered. Some had done very well, but no one made a point of their financial status (few certainly can now!) While almost all of my classmates from West Point had served in the military and gone to Vietnam, I had little feel about the rest of my high school class. Now I now know many of us served and the majority of those who came to our reunion this time were veterans.

It occurred to me that I was experiencing oral tradition and that what we talked about formed a shared corpus of knowledge told from particular perspectives. It had, I believe, a kinship with much of what became our Holy Scriptures of the Hebrew and Christian traditions. Unlike our presidential candidates, neither Moses nor Jesus spoke from teleprompters the text of which is preserved, neither was followed by either the print or broadcast media, and certainly neither lived under quite the microscope that anyone running for public office must bear. And no one rushed a book into print before the event was even complete. In their time, neither Jesus nor Moses appeared in a YouTube video, nor were their journeys followed byPeoplemagazine. Consequently all we know of these dominating figures of our tradition comes from the telling of story and, in a number of cases, those stories were edited to conform to an agenda or theological viewpoint.

Yet, in my experience as both a lay person and a priest, God still ‘speaks’ to us through the accumulation we know as the Bible. Time and again, I have gotten fresh insights reading over very familiar scriptures. This experience is a work of the Holy Spirit which the Apostle Paul tells us opens the meaning to us.

It has been very exciting to be at St. John’s this fall. All the services are off and running with a particularly satisfying experience at the 9 am service. The children and their parents are truly engaged, and I want to thank Ken Corneille, our Music Director, and Marianne Margrave, Bible Story craftsperson, for helping sustain the energy. I am pleased that so many people are joining us in worship.

I hope everyone who has an opportunity will help newcomers negotiate the service (if they need it) and make them feel welcome. Incorporation comes from the Latin meaning making one part of the body. We are the Body of Christ here at St. John’s, a vibrant community of caring, sharing people who, in my experience, will do all they are able to help if they only know.

This past Saturday we were open for the tour of historical churches here in Cornwall. The tour ran from 10 am until 3 pm. With three visitors, we did better than many.

Following that opportunity was our Square Dance and Chicken Dinner or as someone at Rotary observed the Chicken Dance and Square Dinner. It started at 4 and ended at 7. It was be fun. Our next big event is the Progressive Dinner on the 25th. For information, contact Bambi Barth.

Well that’s about it. See you at church and doing God’s work hereabouts.

Fr. Tom