Pastor's Page

Dear Parish Family,

This weekend we observe Memorial Day, a time when we remember those who have sacrificed for the greater good of the nation. During this time of pandemic our realization of the true breadth of that number grows. We can see more clearly now - during these days - the nurses & doctors in the fields of our bloodiest war, the Civil War, amputating grizzly limbs from soldiers with little anesthetic. Scars remain on the bodies of young men sent to war against their brothers, but also etched in the minds of those who cared for the wounded and the dead. The sacrifice of war permeated our whole society. It is not merely the sacrifice of the soldier, as heroic as that is, but really the cost paid by the nation. Memorial Day began to recall the great cost of fighting a war.

Our nation is presently at war against the invisible enemy, a novel Coronavirus from Wuhan, China, and not only our nation but our world is engaged in battle. There have been many casualties and unsung heroes. One causality for many children all around the globe is a rather unprecedented end to the year and all accompanying pomp and circumstance. Another great heartache is not being able to bury our beloved dead as we would expect or hope. Long-planned weddings and other celebrations are on hold and yet to be rescheduled. Our lives can feel paused and yet more tenuous. We feel a lot of heartache during these days, loss and grief, and the saga of a world changed that won’t or can’t just go back to the way things were before ol’ Corona came calling.

We witness some uncertainty and trepidation on the part of the disciples today  as  Jesus commissions them to spread the Gospel to the whole world. “They worshiped, but they doubted,” Matthew notes (Mt 28:17). These days in between Easter and Pentecost are really days of the in-between. Jesus has continued to teach and appear to the disciples, preparing them to receive the power of the Spirit at Pentecost, yet he is not with them all the time. Today Jesus departs to prepare for the arrival of the Paraclete. I imagine these days for the disciples may have felt rather tenuous and challenging.

How many times does Jesus reinforce: be not afraid? We have heard it many times during these Easter days and it is a wonderful reminder for us all.

The Advocate is promised to provide words to the disciples so that they can make their defense for the hope that lies within them. He will speak through them. Paul writes of this Holy Spirit: “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call…”( Eph 1:17-18). The Spirit will buoy the disciples with hope.

The power of the Spirit is really the spiritual backbone the disciples need to feel strengthened and supported in the work of the great commissioning: spreading the love of God to all the nations and teaching them to walk in His ways. The Holy Spirit emboldens and animates those who have become the adopted children of our heavenly Father. He is the wind in our sails, the light that shines in our darkness, the sweet fragrance lingering in the garden.

During this time of uncertainty and heartache, while we fight the virus and struggle to keep our families safe, we pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be our strength and to enliven our hope: “Lord send forth your spirit and renew the face of the earth!”

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joel Wilson

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