Circles of Life, Community of Love
One of the greatest blessings of being a pastor, as I’m finding out in this first year with you here at Trinity, is being able to walk closer with you and our neighbors to the circles of your lives.
In the week before Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to baptize two babies whom few of us had met and to mourn and celebrate the life of a man that many of us did not know, but who I guarantee you we wish we had.
Caleb and Camden, twin sons of Nicole and Brad and brothers of Sophia, brightened our community with their extended family and friends on November 19th when they received their baptism into the Body of Christ. I was grateful that many of you were able to make it to that service.
Camden and Caleb were the first people I have ever baptized. They both cried when the waters of baptism hit their eyes. A few of us cried a little too when we acclaimed them the newest members of the Body of Christ, and remembered doing so for Sophia 5 years ago and their mother Nicole in years past, when her grandmother Renate was among us. How wonderful to have her and her Mom, Diana, back with us, and to meet their family, Brad and his family, and so many awesome friends.
The day that I am writing this column, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we hosted a homegoing service for Randall Jerome Johnson, former husband and friend for 32 years of Bennetta E., Trinity’s Vice President. Nearly 80 people were present to mark Randy’s sudden passing into the arms of Jesus last Friday night/Saturday morning, just a little over a week after his 51st birthday.
We opened our doors and pews and tables and chairs to Randy’s family, and I cannot tell you how grateful folks were, and how grateful I was that we were able to comfort this family and these friends, to make Trinity their home as it is our home. Because God has given us this building, these pews and tables and chairs, this kitchen, these windows, this altar and sound system and screen to share.
We get through the hardest times of our lives by having community to rest in. We truly celebrate in community. Faith is a personal experience for many, and Jesus loves us all and calls us all by name, but we truly realize who we are, and who God is, in community.
The holidays bring memories of those who are no longer with us, whom we used to see during the holidays or whom we wish we could see as others see their family and friends, people who are no longer with us, or no longer on this side of heaven. The church is the same way—we naturally miss those who are no longer with us. I miss my friend Marjorie, who died the day after the 4th Sunday in Advent in 2004. She was a brilliant poet and truly pure in heart. I wish you could have known her. There are many in the Trinity community I wish I could have known.
My prayer in this advent time, through these shortening days and lengthening nights, for you and for our community, is that you will find new ways, and strengthen old ways, of preparing for the coming of the Christ child into the world, and into our congregation. Jesus comes to us each week, each day, and is always with us. But Jesus also comes in new forms, through new people, and those people will come when they know that we are a community that opens its heart to them.
So many people need a community like Trinity. We have such an incredibly loving community to share. Maybe this will come through new people coming to Trinity on Sunday. Maybe they will find our community through new, smaller groups that meet in peoples’ homes under the banner of Trinity, a step on the way to coming to church. I value your ideas and covet your prayers in our ministry together. May you be blessed in these days, and may God find new ways of speaking the Gospel through you to those who need our community.
God bless you every day!