Over the last few weeks, we’ve been thinking and praying together about how the Christian life includes cycles of exile and return. We’ve given thanks for the tools that God has given us to connect even in diaspora, to be together in Spirit even when we aren’t together in person.
And yet: there’s one more step in the dance of Christian life.
There is exile, there is return, and then there is a third movement: being sent back out into the world for the sake of our neighbors and creation as a whole. It’s being commissioned, sent for the sake of God’s love and justice, God’s future of hope.
St. John’s is a community of return, a place of homecoming. And it’s also a community of sending, a place that commissions us as agents of God’s love and grace, so that all may experience a sense of homecoming and belonging in God’s new world of compassion, dignity, and joy.
This Sunday is Intention Sunday. Hopefully you’ve been praying this year’s Giving Prayer, written by a member of our community, over these last weeks. Hopefully your prayers are helping to clarify how, with the Spirit’s wisdom, you can contribute to the ongoing returning and sending that makes St. John’s who we have been, who we are today, and who we will be tomorrow and for years to come.
Christianity was made for this: building bridges of homecoming and commissioning, sending and return, welcoming the stranger and being sent forth to visit the sick and imprisoned. St. John’s is made for it, too, as is each one of us, a child of God in the image of God.
To be clear, though: we are made to do this together, offering up all our skills, our hopes, our ideas, our money, and our hearts to answer God’s call.
So find the blank intent card we sent you a few weeks ago (or click here for a downloadable copy), and plan on joining us on Intention Sunday, October 29, online or in person. If you cannot make it in person, you are encouraged to mail in your intent card to the church office or make your intention online at stjohnsalbany.org/generosity.
With a past so full of grace, our future — thanks be to God — is likewise full of hope. Thank you for your generosity and partnership — and see you Sunday!
The Rev. Josh Evans, pastor