Message from the Rector
By The Rev. Dr. Vincent Joseph Kopp
Dear Good People of St. Stephen’s,
New seasons come and go in many forms.
Trinity Sunday, June 5th, marked the start of “ordinary time,” the season after Pentecost, the long “green” season in the liturgical year that extends to Advent.
Tuesday, June 21st, the day of the 2022 Summer Solstice, marked the official start of summer and the end of spring, though it has felt like those two seasons changed places weeks ago.
And then, unique to this year, April 10th marked the 199th anniversary of St. Stephen’s official inclusion as a Parish in the Diocese of North Carolina, itself only organized six years earlier in 1817.
These seasons are all a part of God’s plan for us, the plan Christ offers to us, the plan the Holy Spirit guides us to accept. They are simple, palpable, and permit us to participate, grow, and, yes, move on in a life full of both joys and pains.
The Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 puts it this way:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
God equips each of us to discern our place in all different seasons; to discern what Christ would have us do when seasons change around us, like it or not; and to discern the Holy Spirit’s work in the midst of chaos or calm, each of which is a season in itself.
Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection as Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. Some of the old seasons mentioned above no longer apply when we grow in Christ. Death is no more to be feared; love triumphs over hate; peace is better than war.
Harvest the fulfillment Christ planted for us and turn it into the Bread of Life for each other.