Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stewardship Witness: Invitation to Journey

During Stewardship every year, we ask members of the community to share a little of their journey and tell us why they choose to be generous.

I have not always been an Episcopalian, nor for that matter, even a practicing Christian. I was one of those people around the fringes—looking enviously at those who went to church regularly. They seemed so happy. Their lives seemed so full of purpose. I wanted to be that way too. And so I watched and watched and slowly started to attend church by myself, drawn each time deeper into the mystery of Jesus.

I started attending St. Paul’s in 1988 while I was taking the Kerygma one year course that studied the Bible in terms of themes—you know: sin, redemption forgiveness, love and more. I was captured during Easter week that first year by the services that took place every night (I didn’t even know enough to call it liturgy then)., and the enveloping “arms of love” of those who swept me upstairs after each service to share in a pot luck supper. I was home. I have never left.

Over the years, i became more and more active in the celebration of the eucharist, serving as an acolyte and a chalice bearer and then finally as a lector and a choir member. I have come to understand the eucharist as a journey—with Jesus—and with all of you.

This understanding has been helped along by my travels. One was a trip to Java. Now, one of the first things a tourist is taken to upon arriving on Java, is a Javanese dance. I remember watching the dancers move in slow motion—unbearably slow motion— and I wondered “Oy, Veh, are they never going to get the show on the road?” Those dances, and the puppet shows that go on for days and other things in the culture were all about Ramayana, the hero of the great Hindu epic. It was during the visit to Prambanan , the Hindu temple covered with hundreds of bas reliefs depicting Ramayana’s journey, that I came to understand that those slow movements gave us all a chance to go on the journey too,. There he is: —teaching—eating—sleeping—in the rains —in the sunshine—walking —listening —and ——there are all his followers accompanying him, listening to him, eating with him, watching him— in the rains—in the sunshine.

Now fast forward few years to my visits to various Orthodox services while I was attending St. George’s College in Jerusalem. Those services all seem go on and on—but—wait—I realized that they are taking us on a journey too—with Jesus, for isn’t every step of the liturgy to do with what He does and how we accompany him and share His journey with Him?

And the final journey with Jesus that I wish to share is the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Walking along that way profoundly brings home every thing that He suffered and rose above.

And we do it here at St Paul’s every time we participate in the Eucharist. We —all of us—are present on Jesus’s journey. It motivates us to be Jesus in the world—to bring His message in our actions and words and demeanor. We are his people and the sheep of His pasture. I can think of no other group to believers that I yearn to be a part of. I am home for sure. My mind and heart and treasure are here at St. Paul’s. And every year I give generously because it helps me live out that journey with Jesus— the one we reenact each Sunday in our worship. He gave all of himself for us. I give back as much as I am able so that I might follow his lead, and so that others might be touched by the mission and ministry of this place, and slowly, be drawn into the journey with Him as well.

Mim Sellgren

Visit the Living Water pledge site for more information

Thank you to all of our witnesses who so courageously share a part of their lives with us so that we might be opened up just a little more to how God is working in our lives and in the life of St. Paul’s.

Do you have a story to tell about why you are thankful to St. Paul’s? 
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