From the Rector
I’m thinking a lot about the people of the Carolinas today as Florence makes landfall. Having seen with my own eyes the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey during a relief trip last November, I know how terrible the impact of such a storm can be. Please pray with special care for those who could not evacuate, especially those who work as emergency responders and will risk much in the next several days to serve and protect those in danger.
A few days ago, I saw some photographs of the storm taken from the International Space Station, and they are utterly astounding. It’s a strange aspect of creation that something as huge and destructive as a Category 4 hurricane can also be mesmerizingly beautiful. I’ve found myself praying as I stare at these pictures, because they’ve reminded me of the way God is able to weave goodness into the fabric of all things, even those things that we may initially look upon with fear or loathing.
This weekend in our worship our attention will be focused upon another object of destruction that somehow possesses supreme beauty: the cross. In our gospel lesson for our weekend services of Eucharist, we’ll hear Jesus instruct his disciples that “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” God not only transformed an instrument of death into the doorway of salvation, but also made our embrace of it to be the way we experience our truest, most complete and whole lives. When we pour ourselves out, when we offer ourselves on behalf of others and the world, when we choose sacrificial love as our way of life, we move deeper and deeper into the beautiful life God intends for us.
Which is why the cross is such a central image of our faith, and why, on Sunday evening, we’ll gather for a service of Evensong to honor the Feast of the Holy Cross. This object intended for brutality is the pathway to mercy and peace. This object that was the worst form of torture the Roman Empire could come up with is the way to abundant life. I’m grateful that, as part of the service, we’ll display and dedicate one of the new set of Stations of the Cross created by artists Charlotte and Bill Hallett, who also created our altar and triptych (the full set will be displayed in coming weeks, after their shipment). As we walk the way of the cross, our hearts are turned again to the mystery that God “made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life” (BCP, 220).
I hope you’ll join us throughout the weekend to ponder the beautiful mystery of the cross, and consider how God may be calling you to lose your life in order to save it.