GUEST POST BY THE REV. SHEA GILLILAND
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” –Acts 2:46-47
Summer, Olive, and I have been deeply blessed by our first month here at Church of the Transfiguration. Your tangible expressions of welcome to us, in the form of handshakes, hugs, smiles, and in the little notes, gift cards, and other gifts have meant more to us than you could know. As a parish family, you have helped us move from North Carolina to Dallas, eased the stresses of moving by providing us groceries, and brought rest and enjoyment to us in the form of bars of chocolate and bottles of wine. You have shown love to our daughter Olive in the forms of stuffed animals and new outfits, you have provided for us spiritually by praying for us and with gifts such as prayer shawls, and you have even given us the opportunity to enjoy Dallas by providing us with a membership to the Arboretum (Olive has already discovered the joy of splashing around in public water fountains there)!
It would be impossible to list every gift, every expression of encouragement and warm handshake or hug, that we have been given over the last month, which is itself a testimony to the culture of giving and welcome at this parish. Your love to us has been a true sign of God’s love for all; you have truly demonstrated what the Prayer Book calls “the mission of the Church…to restore all people to unity with God and each other…to promote justice, peace, and love…through the ministry of all its members” (BCP, 855).
In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, the Church is marked by its communal care for its members; its tangible acts of love in the form of sharing, mutual support, and unified worship make the Church what it is. As Acts 2:46-47 indicates, when God’s people love one another, when they give freely to one another and support each other, and when they worship together, “the Lord adds daily to the those who are being saved.” This means that the ministry of the Church—the reconciliation of all people to the love of God in Christ—is vitally linked to the members of the Church caring for one another. Whether you thought about it this way or not, your acts of welcome to Summer, Olive, and me objectively advanced the mission of God. Your ministry to us has actually been in service to God’s Church and has advanced God’s mission in the world.
So please receive my deepest thanks, and know that you are in my daily prayers. I am blessed to be with you, and excited to see how God will continue to use this parish family to advance the mission of the Church and spread the love of Christ to the world.