By Father Casey Shobe
Recently I’ve been combing through old photos of Transfiguration. The church building will turn 50 next year, so I’ve been looking at pictures of the campus around the time of its construction. It’s an amazing thing to inherit a blessing like our church and facilities, which took incredible thought, preparation, and generosity to bring into existence. I am immensely grateful for the vision of that early generation of Fig members, who could then have barely imagined how our city would continue to grow, and how our church would stretch wide its embrace to share the love of Christ to countless new people.
Owing to our stewardship campaign, I’ve been particularly captivated by old pictures of Fig families planting trees on our campus. I am spellbound by these photos. I can feel the hope of these people radiating out of the images, like the Holy Spirit is connecting us across the decades in a bond of fellowship and love – which, of course, she is.
Today, we get to sit in the shade of those trees. They’ve grown huge, and we easily take their stately beauty for granted, but they were planted one day long ago by people who knew they would likely never see them grow up. What gratitude we owe our forebears, most of whom now dwell upon another shore and in a greater light. They modeled for us the holy nature of stewardship in God’s economy: what we offer to God today in gratitude for the blessings of yesterday, God transforms into the blessings of tomorrow. This is why we turned the Gathering Space into a little tree nursery during our stewardship campaign. The trees that have stood there – and this weekend it’s a tall, beautiful Chinquapin Oak – are poignant symbols of how what we plant by our living and giving today can grow into the blessings of tomorrow.
I am deeply grateful that this theme has resonated with many of you. I’ve heard it’s helped you connect with this idea that what we offer today to Transfiguration through our pledge becomes the seeds of what Transfiguration will become in the future. Our giving makes possible our mission and witness, which in turn draws even more people to join us for the work God has given us. A pledge, like planting a tree, is an act of hope: hope for the future; hope for the people who aren’t even here yet; hope that Christ will have everything in hand even when we, too, travel to that distant shore and into that greater light.
I hope you’ll attend this weekend as we draw our stewardship season to a close on Saturday at The Table (5:30 p.m.) and Sunday morning with a single, combined Eucharist at 10 a.m. We’ll sing and pray and worship together. We’ll take our pledges and tokens of support to the altar and joyfully offer them to God. Then, after church on Sunday, we’ll spill outside to enjoy the fun of Fig Fest…much of which will happen outside, beneath the shade of some beautiful old trees, planted by the saints of yesteryear.
See you soon.
About Father Casey
Casey became the fourth rector of Transfiguration in October 2014 after having served churches in Rhode Island and Houston. He is married to Melody Shobe, also an Episcopal priest, and they have two daughters, Isabelle and Adelaide. Casey grew up in Temple, Texas, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. His Master of Divinity was earned at Virginia Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry at the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee). He loves playing golf, road cycling, hiking, brewing beer, and working in his yard. You can contact Father Casey by email.