Dear Church.... (a letter to PCOP)

Colossians 3: 7-17

These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

To The Saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Palatine

From Jan Edmiston, a Servant of Jesus Christ by the will of God and your Servant in the Offices of the Presbytery of Chicago

On July 12, 2015

All grace and peace to you on this summer day in Chicagoland where the breezes are warm and the lake is blue and even when it rains, the summers are glorious.  These are the days are when many of us travel and I understand that your congregation has been on a journey to Tabgha.  It is my hope that you have indeed arrived!  

Of course our journey of faith continues throughout this life, and I would like to share some thoughts on making the best of your journey of faith in the weeks and years to come.  The key to a successful journey  - whether we are traveling with our families on vacation, or we are traveling with our church to Tabgha, or we are traveling down a spiritual path in hopes of finding meaning  - has everything to do with gratitude: 

Sisters and brothers, be grateful if you have made (even a little) progress in your personal behavior.

The world is full of anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language.  We see it on the news.  We hear it on the streets.  We experience these behaviors in our own homes.  But moving along a spiritual road involves shedding some of these behaviors.  They are simply too heavy to keep carrying around.  Who needs that?

If we are not as angry as we used to be, be grateful.  If our language has become gentler, thank God for that.  As we travel down the road of faith, we will see evidence of progress and our loads will be lighter.

Brothers and sisters, be grateful if you have had the courage to trade your hard appearance for something softer and more forgiving

(Who doesn’t appreciate clothes that are forgiving?!)  Imagine clothing yourselves with compassion and kindness so that - when you see someone in need – you are prepared.  Imagine wearing humility like a flowing garment so that you might learn from someone else and not feel confined to keep up with what you always thought was the truth.  Imagine wrapping yourselves in meekness to the point that other gentle souls want to come closer.  Imagine having the patience to travel in less than perfect circumstances.  The best travel clothes are comfortable and easy.  Clothing ourselves with love becomes increasingly comfortable and easy as we grow in faith.

Sisters and brothers, be grateful if you have survived some of life’s more difficult expeditions.

Traveling together is never easy.  Who hasn’t been on a trip when everybody gets tired and cranky?  But some journeys are more difficult than others because of the detours and unexpected crises.   Be grateful for good travel companions in those difficult excursions.  Remember that any trip is easier when we bear with one another, when we forgive each other, when we love each other. 

Brothers and sisters, be grateful for clear directions.

Whether we are traveling with Google Maps or AAA Trip Tix or a compass, it’s essential to have reliable directions or we will most definitely find ourselves lost.  The rules of the road vary dramatically from place to place, but – as people of faith who seek to follow Jesus – remember to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.  Remember to be guided by the word of God.  Remember to teach and warn each other as we navigate our spiritual journeys.  Singing along the way makes the trip more fun.  And even when we wander rather aimlessly, we will find that inner peace makes the most arduous journey tolerable, if not joyous.

And finally, sisters and brothers of Palatine, I pray that  - by God's will  - I may soon visit you again on a Sunday morning.  But in the meantime, be the Church God is calling you to be in Palatine and beyond.  And remember:  whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

Posted on July 13, 2015 and filed under 2015.