Clergy Corner by Jim Dalton – August 31, 2020

I firmly believe that we are born with a belief in God. We may not know the name God. We may not be able to put a face to it. However, if we do not know God, we will go through life with the feeling that something is missing from our life. There is a void that no amount of worldly success, power, money, or property can every fill. It is a God shaped hole and only God can fill it.

Some people will say that God is a fairy tale for people who need myths in their lives. They will point out the evil that has been done by “God’s” people to hurt those who believe differently. You cannot argue with this people, nor should you.

Our job is not to judge the paths of others but to find a path that we can walk. Most of us were either raised in a tradition that strictly defined a single path, or we were left alone to find our own way by parents who were too unsure to force a single path upon us.

We must accept where we are. We all have special gifts of character. Some of us are blessed with compassion; others, laughter; others, a power of self-discipline. Some of us are filled with the beauty of people, others with the beauty of nature. Some of us have a keen sense of the injustices in life; others are drawn to celebrate the goodness around us. These are all starting points, because they are all places of belief.

You must discover the gift that you have – the source of your belief – and discover a way to cultivate that gift in your service to God.

Various Christian traditions exists because those different traditions give voice to fundamental spiritual truths that a group of people share. We at St. Stephen’s have many common beliefs but we do not all share the same beliefs. We each are on a different points along the path to know, and understand, and serve God. We need to listen to each other, love each other, and learn from each other. We need to grow together in our faith journey.

It is true that God’s loves us exactly how we are. But God also has an expectation that each one of us will continue toward a deeper knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a child of God and what our relationship to God and to our neighbors should look like.

It’s hard to grow as the body of Christ when we cannot meet together. It takes even greater effort to stay connected. We need to come through the pandemic stronger than before. We cannot use 2020 as a stumbling block on our journey with Christ. We cannot push each other away because of our differences on worldly matters. We need to grow together on things eternal.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Your whole life is your spiritual journey, and you will find yourself in arid lands as well as lands rich in possibility. Once you begin, you will never turn back. Push forward. What can you do? Figure it out,and do it. You are called to be obedient, not necessarily successful.

Prayer for the week:
Lord, you have searched me out and known me;
you know when I sit down, and when I rise up,
you discern my thoughts long before.
You know my journeys and the places where I rest;
you are acquainted with all my ways.
You are behind me and before me;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
so great that I can hardly bear it. Amen.
-Psalm 139:1-2, 5-6