St. Paul’s children have been enjoying their new space in worship. We are thankful they capture that spirit of innocence, optimism, and trust we would most like to emulate.
If only, we think, life could be as it seems to be for these children.
We may even have had a joyful and trouble-free childhood ourselves. Even those of us not fortunate enough to have experienced an idyllic youth tend to lay aside the painful parts and indulge in a good deal of pleasant nostalgia.
It’s usually only when we ask people to dig around that they recall the parts that were less than pleasant
- not being chosen for the team, being a bully or being bullied, enduring the loss of friends to the most popular person in the class, and so on. It is when we remember these feelings that we become thankful once more that we are now adult with some amount of choice about our lives.
Nevertheless, the longing for kindness, generosity, and genuine hope about our lives is real and it is to be attended to. While as children we may find “goodness” a dull prospect, as adults we come to appreciate its capacity to create a safe space in which we can reach for our personal dreams and still feel part of a larger community. This is the promise offered to us as the “bread of life” of which Jesus speaks.
The paradox of living is that we are called to become the unique person we have been created to be while discovering that we can only “become” in and through relationship with others - including God.
In this tension lies the freedom the gospel brings. It transforms the ordinary business of life into extraordinary moments of intensity in which we glimpse the depth and vitality of God’s love in the lives of those who surround us. We become more able to live in each moment, to savor each experience. Living in relationship enables us to become more alive to our own living and, unlike our childhood, less likely to bury our struggles in shame. Instead God uses them as the raw material of a new life experienced most vividly in relationship with God, each other, and the whole creation.
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves, Interim Rector