August 29, 2018

I recently had a mountain-top experience…literally. The place I visited in North Carolina was atop a mountain. Everyone was dressed in their finery, the pavilion was superbly adorned with all manner of floral arrangements, the music echoed off the hills below, and the bride and groom adoringly committed themselves to one another for the rest of their natural lives. It was picturesque on all accounts; the scene and day fluidly shifting from one happy moment to the next. I took it all in, both remaining within the situation and stepping back from time to time to observe. This would undoubtedly be one of the happiest days of their lives and they’d remember it forever. I’m sure they’re somewhere on their honeymoon now, enjoying each other’s company and having a blast repeating the lines, “Husband” and “Wife” when they introduce themselves to literally every random stranger they find—just so they can say their new title. I hope their honeymoon lasts for the next forty years, that they never lose that feeling of gratitude and hope for each new day together.

I’ve experienced quite a few days such as the one above, over the last year here at Resurrection. So many firsts, so many ‘new’ moments. And yet, so very REAL in their character and in how they affected me. In a sense—much like a new marriage—we’ve enjoyed introducing ourselves as the ‘new’ priest and clergy spouse of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. We’ve bragged on our people, our new worship space, our new home. In many ways, Nicole and I have seen ourselves as married to this place—for better and for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health…
And yet, I hope the same thing for us, as a unit, as I do for the young couple from this past weekend. I hope for the honeymoon to last the next (insert number of years here) without ceasing. Sure, we’ll have hard times, but hopefully not too often. We will have to tighten our belts some years and others may see us with an over-abundance. We will do the same services year in and year out, but hopefully they’ll be approached with a similar sense of anticipation and wonder as they were the first time we did them together. Our ministries will continue to grow and serve, but they will do so lovingly and courageously, without regard to ‘old hat mentality’. 

Our scene is picturesque. We have a beautiful building, we come together on the happiest days of our lives and on the saddest, and every-day in between. I continue to brag on you, and hopefully I give you enough reason to WANT to introduce people to me and Nic. We see each other in our finery and in our work-clothes; in our sports shirts and in our hospital gowns. Yet, we see so much more in each other’s hearts. That’s who we are. We are one body growing with grace, bound together in mutual affection and faith for our Lord Jesus Christ. By virtue of being married to Him as the Church, we are bound to one another by that holiest of notions, that we are far better together than we ever could be apart, loving each other as we do ourselves. My greatest hope for us? That we remain in this beloved community and continue to seek others to join us, not for posterity, but for the broadening of the Kingdom of God. As year two gets underway, remember the joy you had during year one; the excitement and wonder and willingness to engage and grow deeper in faith. If you do that, I give you my solemn yet joyful vow that you will be, again, finding yourself deeper in love with Christ than you were the day before. I’ll see you soon, beloved. And Nicole and I can’t wait to spend the coming days, months, and years at your side, walking in love as Christ loved us.

Fr. Sean+