From the Pastor – We recently held our annual meeting of the congregation for Holy Cross. Our once a year gathering to take a look at the 12 months that have just gone by, as well as looking at what lies ahead in the not too distant future. We elected members to serve on Council, Memorial and Trust, the Nominating Committee, and to be voting members at the New England Synod Assembly. We voted on a budget. This year we had decisions to make regarding specific materials to be used in renovating the kitchen and replacing carpet and tile flooring. We also spent some time talking about the different feelings people have with regard to a Sunday morning worship schedule comprised of one service or two services.
There could be the feeling that an annual meeting has to do with taking care of the “business side” of the church – meaning the nuts and bolts of congregational life, the practical matters that require our attention. There could even be the feeling that such matters are less spiritual in nature than other aspects of church life – such as worship, Bible study, Christian education. I can understand how such a feeling could come into play, but at the same time it’s important to be clear such a feeling grows out of a misperception.
EVERYTHING we do as the body of Christ, is firmly grounded in the life of the Spirit. EVERY gathering, EVERY program, EVERY meeting, EVERY decision that takes place at Holy Cross is rooted in our common identity as beloved children of God, and our common mission to be God’s people in the world. Even things that may not seem, on the surface, to be all that “spiritual” in nature, are avenues through which the Holy Spirit is present and at work in our midst. This is true because the presence of the Holy Spirit does not depend on how we feel, but on what Jesus has promised:
“Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matt. 18:20 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
A similar promise comes through in what St. Paul writes, when describing the body of Christ:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
God created us as human beings, and that includes our emotions. Our feelings are a blessing, and our feelings also come and go, wax and wane. There will be times when we feel especially spiritual, and times when we feel less so. And the more spiritual type feelings may, indeed, be experienced to a greater degree in some circumstances (e.g. worship or Bibles study) than in others (e.g. an annual meeting or church clean-up day).
And yet, make no mistake. Whenever we are together, whatever we may be doing, Jesus promises that he is in our midst through the gift of his Holy Spirit. And that puts EVERYTHING about our life together on a firm, spiritual foundation. This is a blessing for which to give thanks! And a reality for us to remember, be formed by, and celebrate.
Yours in (the body of) Christ!