This is the Month...

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

This is the month, and this is the year....

This is the month when all starts anew at Holy Comforter. The choirs resume their ministry among us in song and psalm. Christian Formation returns for people of all ages. The full liturgical schedule begins once again. The Monday prayer group returns, and the Youth Group reconvenes. Planning kicks in for the Stewardship campaign, for the Fall Festival and the Fall Fellowship Dinner and for a host of other moments in our common life. This is the month when the full vigor and vibrancy of Holy Comforter springs forth into full blossom.

And so, let this be the year when, I pray, each us will take more seriously than ever before our faith in God and our relationship with the Holy One through his Body, the Church. Let this be the year when, I pray, each of us ponders-and then uses-the gifts given to each of us by our absurdly generous God.

It is easier to sleep in or to take a walk of a Sunday morning than it is to wrestle the kids into their church clothes or to fight the challenges of parking on Kenilworth Avenue. It is easier to skip Church School or the Forum or not to join one of the choirs than it is to commit to full participation. It is easier to place a bill in the offering plate than it is to make a financial commitment in support of the parish and its ministries. After a week of meetings at work, it is easier not to become involved in a ministry or program that demands of us some of our valuable personal time. It is easier to watch "Big Bang Theory" or "The Voice" than it is to pray.

But who among us wants to take the easy way out?

The most important aspects of our lives are those that require dedication and personal investment. Is not the basis of the Christian faith the belief that God has given all for and to us-even going so far as to come among us as one of us in order to heal, to feed, to nourish, to die, and to live again-and that, therefore, we must offer ourselves back to God in grateful thanks? Growth as people of faith does not easily happen haphazardly. We don't, in general, develop our spirituality, our gifts, our relationship with God, and our connection to the community without some intentionality. Our young people won't learn and appropriate their identities as children of God if they only experience worship and formation every so often. One doesn't learn how to play the piano by only practicing every other Thursday, or how to play lacrosse by never picking up a stick. The same is true of our lives as God's people.

And we can gain so much by being part of this parish. We receive brothers and sisters seeking to grow, just as we are. We develop friendships and memories that can last and nourish for a lifetime. We get to sing and laugh and cry and work and love and pray and reach out together, as part of something larger than ourselves, as members of a family of faith. We enjoy the regular reminder that we are unspeakably beloved in God's eyes and heart. We experience, again and again, the possibility of new hope and light and life and peace.

And so, let this be the year when, I pray, each of us reconnects to God, recommits to the community of faith, re-offers our gifts and our time and our devotion and our very lives to the One who has called us into being, who created and constantly re-creates us, who is our Way and our Truth and our Life.

This is the month, and this is the year...