New Beginnings and Old Lessons

On January 25, 2009 by saintlukesgresham

by Kyle Wiseley

St. Luke's Episcopal ChurchThis has been an amazing week in both our national life and in the life of St. Luke’s.

Last Sunday was our annual meeting — the first I’ve attended as a member of the parish. St. Luke’s is a delightful place and I am extremely happy to have found it. Since my life’s circumstances set me down literally next door to the church, I have been welcomed with open arms by the warm and loving people of this parish and it already feels like home.

I rejoice in the growth I see happening here, especially the young families and the delightful children who enrich us with their presence. Over the course of the past thirty some years, my life’s journey has taken me to many different Episcopal parishes and I’m sorry to say, not all are as welcoming and accepting as I have found St. Luke’s to be. When we gather for worship or for fellowship there is a palpable feeling of caring and affection which flows between and among the beautiful saints who make up this church family. I particularly felt it on the Sunday following Christmas, when the weather had prevented us from celebrating together on Advent IV, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As we gathered that morning there was such joy on everyone’s face and such a genuine feeling of happiness that we were all back together again as our church family. That alone is enough to keep me returning Sunday after Sunday.

I have also found that this is a place of spiritual nourishment. The homilies prepared and offered by Rev. Jennifer and the lay preachers are always well thought out and inspirational. I always take away something that I find spiritually useful during the week ahead. The lectionary study group enriches my spiritual life through my hearing the Word as it is filtered through the perceptions of my brothers and sisters. Again I always come away with some new perception of our common Story that I would have never developed on my own.

Our building and grounds are beautiful and well-maintained, and the Labyrinth is a wonderful gift to the wider community. Since I live within sight of it, I see people who are not involved with our parish, walking and meditating and I have a sense of pride to be part of a parish that offers that kind of gift to the wider community.

With the change of our national Administration, there is a sense of new beginnings all across our community and across the country itself. And yet, here at home our national day of celebration was besmirched by the revelation of scandal in the Portland City Administration. Scandal that particularly devastated the gay and lesbian community as well as the community at large. But disappointing as that development is, there is a lesson to be learned: Character counts! Integrity is important! The high road is not always easy, but it is the only truly safe way to continue on one’s journey.

So, in the freshness of this new year my hope is that we can rededicate ourselves to genuine affection and support for one another, greater efforts to reach out to those outside our parish family who need our compassion and care, and ever increasing devotion to the example set by Jesus as our moral and spiritual guide.

Blessed 2009.

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