Jr. Warden Pam Rhodes on finding God’s presence in the current chaos

As you are reading this, the election is over. While I am writing it, the world is spinning in an angry political stew as we come to terms with the results. There are many topics that I could offer to either boast about my candidate or disparage the other. But here, I will do neither. To quote Tim Egan of the NY Times, “The core lessons that bind us together as a civilized society are in play in the last days of this election. We long for family dinners where politics no longer intrudes, for tailgate parties where football is all that matters, for normalcy. Remember those days?” I hope and pray they are not gone forever.

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The reality is that life goes on around us just like it did last year, even five and ten years ago. We still need to deal with issues like homelessness, poverty, climate change, police shootings, racial injustice, all levels of education funding, housing, food banks, immigration, and the Syrian refugee crisis. Is your head spinning yet?

So where is our refuge, our safety net? Surely our faith gives us the ability to take in all these issues, turn to God and allow Him to help us find the center of our soul. Yes even nasty politics can make us aware, but it never changes who we are inside. My heart, my faith, my servant ministries and my relationships are all nourished by God’s presence. St. Andrew’s has offered me and my family the steady foundation for how to live our lives. Whether we find answers in the lessons of radical sending and hospitality, in deep friendships, in the lessons of deep loss and coping with loss, the love of Christ is THE living prayer. We are called to extend to others the grace of God’s glory and love beyond all measure.

During the month of stewardship, many are asked to share their faith journey and experiences so that we can grasp a deeper understanding of what it means to live in the body of Christ and to serve without ceasing.

St. Andrew’s is a church that has so much to offer seekers. It offers continuity in a rich heritage of Episcopal traditions. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we are a community of many interpretations. Sure we can be the ‘chef’ (I can fix you anything) but it’s more divine to be the ‘waiter’ (here’s what we have to offer on the menu). We have the ability to turn the smorgasbord into a banquet. On the heels of Celtic Faire, which has become a lovely tradition in this parish, we witnessed the spirit of servant ministry on so many levels. Although the weather tried to undermine our efforts, we were undeterred. With the non-storm looming every hour, we carried on as if it was a rainy April afternoon. Saturday included serving food and tea, vendors selling all manner of goods, a bake shop, cloth weaving, entertainment, and seekers buying used jewelry. Who knew this could be so fun? On Sunday we enjoyed a speaker, Christine Sine, author and activist, and her topic of Celtic Spirituality. The culmination with our Celtic lamb dinner was another example of the continuing heritage of servant ministry in action. (By the way, if you’ve never seen and heard Tom Egnew “address the haggis” then you have missed one of the most Celtic moments of the whole affair). The auction this year was a resounding success. Here’s a shout out to each and every one who donated their time, talent and treasure.

In all of this we are connecting to God in his divine presence. Here at St. Andrew’s our lives can be lived in our faithfulness and in our praise and worship of Him. The Good News is: Christ saves us. God reaches down and calls us into a relationship of abundant, whole-ly living, not just holy living. I pray you have survived the election and can get on with the business of living out God’s promises in the here and now.