Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.

The First Day

The proudest I might ever have felt on the first day of school was all because of monsters. My shirt had monsters all over it and it buttoned up, like a big boy’s shirt. I also had orange shorts, which matched some of the orange in the shirt. It was quite a set of clothes that I’d get to wear on the first day as the new kid in a new school. To be honest, I don’t really even remember wearing the outfit to school. I remember much more clearly picking it out with my mom and my sister and trying it on for my family.

There is something to getting ready for a big day, right? So many of the weddings I’ve helped people prepare for take months and months of work, discussions, tears (always tears), rethinking, reevaluating, and threatening to elope if an in-law invites one more distant, distant cousin…OK, perhaps that’s not the case in all weddings. But what is the case in all those events is the amount of preparation for a day that one hopes to remember forever.

In a few days, some folks are going to show up for the first day of in-person church in a few years. The amount of preparation and commitment to coming together again after two years is inspiring to me. The hundreds of hours of work that have gone into this effort–from cleaning floors, to painting ceilings; from crafting sign-up forms, to perfecting new technology; from loving conversations, to assisting our beloved friend–is humbling and deeply and powerfully felt. And what is so wonderful is that this work, this effort, will pay dividends week after week as we get better and better at welcoming people to be together.

I am all for one-time-only events like a first day of school or a wedding. But you know what happens so often at those events? That’s a good question, because many don’t remember all of the many things that happen on those special days. Some wedding couples are so insistent on having a photographer and videographer because they know they will not be able to remember everything about the event–there’s just so much going on. Some fourth graders remember more easily their time with their families saying how cool their monster button-up big boy shirts are paired with their orange shorts that hang below their knees (it was the 80s, sorry).

Sunday worship is a practice. The many threads that weave that fabric of worship are threads spun from the hearts of those who help prepare for its coming every week, those who show up, those who share their gifts, and so many more. Like all the days of my life, I am confident that there are going to be ways to do, to practice Sunday worship even more fully, even more skillfully. Unlike a wedding or our first day of school, we get to do this every week and so we get more chances to do it well. And with you grace and a dose of good humor, I know we can do this as we do all things: together.

May it ever be so,
Rev. T. J.

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