For the next ten days—from today, the Feast of the Ascension, through June 4, the Feast of Pentecost—the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, invites Christians throughout the world to participate in a global prayer movement, Thy Kingdom Come. He wants us to pray for people who have lost their faith or have no experience with faith to discover Jesus, to find a way of life that will change and enliven their souls (this is not, as I read it, an invitation to convert people of other faiths but a call to prayer for those who have no faith and need it). In the video promoting the movement, Archbishop Welby not only invites a global community to pray but also shares in a deeply personal way how Jesus has transformed his life.
This is, to put it most succinctly, an invitation to use prayer as a tool for evangelism. On the surface prayer might seem a passive tool, far less effective than inviting someone to church. But prayer may very well be the most important first step for evangelism if we understand that prayer is as much about our own conversion as it is about the transformation of others.
This week our daughter, Hannah, graduates from college. I feel a great mixture of emotions as we approach this milestone, from pride in her accomplishments to relief that there are no more tuition payments to grief that an era of our lives is ending.
The grief hit recently. I was in my car when a song came on the radio that I’d never heard before, “I’ll Let You Go” by Jessica Allossery. The lyrics brought tears to my eyes.
Jesu, the very thought of thee / Edward Bairstow
O clap your hands / Ralph Vaughan Williams
If I’m the first one up in the morning my ideal routine is as follows: I get the dogs out, bring in the newspaper, get my coffee, go to my chair in the living room, pray for 20-30 minutes, get more coffee, and skim through the first section of the New York Times. Only then do I get breakfast. Not all of my mornings, especially Sundays, work this way but I try at least to scan the front page.
I’ve been reading newspapers since I was an adolescent, generally reading the local paper. I started reading the New York Times when a friend gave me a subscription as a gift several years ago and have continued to read it daily (we get the Indy Star twice a week . . . I won’t say any more about that!).
The mission of St. Paul’s reminds us that “St. Paul’s seeks to be a diverse, generous and faithful community. We invite all people into a renewed, reconciled and loving relationship with Jesus Christ so that together we can reveal God’s joy and love in to the world.” Over the past few months we have been searching for people to fill two important positions that will support our mission. Both positions are a result of our 2015 capital campaign and will support our campaign initiatives. I am excited to announce that I have recently called two people to fill these positions.
Associate Rector for Stewardship and Community Engagement
Rise up, my love, my fair one / Healey Willan
Preces and Responses / Kenneth Leighton