Giving Thanks (Part three of three)

Friend of The Falls Church Episcopal,


Today I want to wrap up this three-part “giving thanks” series by giving thanks for seven specific things about the future Falls Church Episcopal. 


  1. for the continuing numeric, spiritual, and financial growth that will happen here over the next few months and years;

  2. to those of you currently sitting on the sidelines who will respond positively to the call (which you may already be sensing) to step up and help out in new ways over the next few months and years;

  3. for the new lessons and growth-in-faith your vestry, lay leadership, and the entire congregation will experience between now and the arrival of your Interim Rector;

  4. for the new insights, spiritual gifts, expectations, work (and-worship and pastoral and preaching) perspectives and styles your Interim Rector will bring;

  5. for the (yet-newer and yet-again different!) new insights, spiritual gifts, expectations, work (and-worship and pastoral and preaching) perspectives and styles your eventual new Rector will bring;

  6. for the new ways this church will be good news to the poor, least, lost, and vulnerable -- while at the same time healing the divides our wider nation is experiencing; and most of all, underneath it all, 

  7. for the bumper-crop growth-in-faith and the other fruits of Holy Spirit you and the entire faith community will experience.*

Thanks be to God for all those things! 


But, you might wonder, how do we give thanks for something that has not yet happened? 


There’s actually a one-word answer to that question: 


Faith


Faith is being assured of what you hope for. Faith is being convicted -- convinced, down deep -- of the existence of something you don’t see. 


So, let me leave you with a question:


what do you hope for, for The Falls Church Episcopal and your role in it? 


What would you like to see in The Falls Church Episcopal’s future, but don’t see yet? 


Faith is being assured of those hopes. 


Faith is being convinced that just because you don’t see those things yet (or at all) doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 


And in fact, faith is being assured that they do, in fact, and will, in fact, exist. (If you don't experience that kind of faith, here are some additional thoughts too long for this article.)


God is the one doing the convincing, and God is the one giving the assurances. 


So glory to God. Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine! Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. (Ephesians 3:21-22).


See you Sunday (and remember, a combined 10:00 service of leave-taking and farewell, with a potluck brunch to follow).


John


*As outlined in Galatians 5, the fruits of Holy Spirit are the attributes of a person or community who live animated by Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you see those virtues/characteristics in an individual Christian’s life or in the life of The Falls Church (or any other church) they are abiding in Christ/following Jesus. If you see the opposite vices/characteristics (among them, enmities, strife, sexual malfeasance, jealousy, bursts of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness) see the full list here,) then that person or church is living apart from Christ/is not following Jesus, and they (like all of us) need to repent/reverse course/turn back to abiding in Holy Spirit/following Jesus. Seldom are things as simple as that. But there you have it. 

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