Dear friends and members of St. Matt's,
What a glorious day we had on Sunday! Thank you to all of you who joined us for our fall kickoff and for all the fun that followed! Thank you to those who planned, helped, and brought food and drinks to share. It was a beautiful day - a little warmer than we all expected, I think. And a day full of laughter and joy, a bouncy house, pizza, salad, and fellowship. Certainly a fitting way to begin this new journey together, this new program year.
In worship, we heard the story of St. Matthew, the saint for whom our church is named. Saints are interesting people, each of them different, and each denomination (or each part of the Christian church) has a different way of relating to them. For us, as in all things, there's a wide spectrum of belief and practice. Regardless of your understanding of the role of the Saints, what is true for all of us is that they can be a companion on our journey of faith. Their stories can help us to better understand our own life, our own joys and challenges. By their life and witness, they have a great deal to teach us about how to live prayerfully, intentionally, gratefully, faithfully.
Matthew is no exception. And while I don't want to re-write here the sermon I gave on Sunday, I do want for all of you, particularly those of you who may not have been here, to carry Matthew's transformation with you (as his actual feast day was yesterday, 9/21). Matthew gives up his life and his position in the world in order to follow Jesus. And he does so seemingly with...no hesitation. (You can read the story here. At the bottom of the page.) And he leaves behind an incredible legacy - as disciple, apostle, and evangelist. There is a Gospel that bears his name. So his story about Jesus, his words, continue to encourage, strengthen, and transform us and people all over the world. Every day. It's really quite the legacy.
Surely it was only possible because somewhere in Jesus - maybe in his eyes, or in his voice - he saw something new. And something shifted within him. God helped him to change. Fulfilling all those promises in Hebrew Scriptures about transformation and renewal, about our hearts, and specifically: about how God will change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. And this will be a part of our new life in God, our new life with Jesus, and our sense of community together.
If you weren't here on Sunday, there is a little stone heart waiting for you at church. In the old baptismal font over by the name tags. Take one with you the next time you're here and put it somewhere that you'll see it - or come across it - or find it in your purse or wallet. And each time you find it, let it remind you of the transformation to which God is calling you. Of the hardness of heart that is so often present in all of us - and of the soft, squishy, vulnerable, breakable heart of Jesus. The heart that God longs to sew and grow in you. How different might the world be if we could make that transformation, too. And learn to love all God's people with those big, soft, breakable hearts.
I have seen many, many times the big hearts of this place. The way you welcome and the way you love. And I hope to see you and your big hearts on Sunday. We have a parish update that will begin in the Lounge at 9:15am. There's a link in this e-news so you can tune in on Zoom if you're at a distance. And we'll enjoy this last Sunday in September together. Until then, God loves you. And so do I.
Tags: Welcome from the Rector