A Message from the Rector - "Grace & The Color Purple"
The new school year is upon us and I’m excited! I hope you’ve picked up a copy of our fall Resource Guide and made notes about how you can connect with our church this year. From luncheons to studies, and from parties to prayer, there are options for all ages and new friends are waiting to welcome you in.
New experiences can be exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, and we all see the world in different ways. I love to see the smiles on children’s faces when they meet their new teacher and the anxiety on parent’s faces as they sign up for countless volunteer roles. Many factors contribute to the start of a new school year, but one thing is certain: the energy is high!
There is a buzz at Saint Michael, too, with new classes in new spaces and opportunities for the young and the young-at-heart to engage in new ways within this church community. As we begin this new school year, I’m particularly excited about how we will begin to mark our Christian journey is a new way.
The start of any Christian journey begins with a gift from God. Our life is God’s first gift to us, and the love we share with one another transforms that gift into something truly unique. As followers of Christ, we believe that God’s grace is freely given to everyone who follows Him, and our faith deepens when we grow in our awareness of grace.
One of my favorite quotes about God’s grace and character comes from The Color Purple by Alice Walker: “I think it annoys God if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it... People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see God’s always trying to please us back.” Beginning in September, you will be invited to begin to see the world around you in a fresh way.
A new sermon series will take place in our traditional worship services focusing on grace. Grace: Still Amazing is a series that will take a look at the gifts we receive from God every day. By following the stories from the Gospel of Luke, the sermons will consider the many ways in which God seeks to delight us, comfort us, push us, and love us. And each day, you will be able to participate.
Grace journals have been created specifically for you and can be picked up all around the church. These pocket-sized journals will give you 60-days worth of space to record mo- ments when you experience God’s grace in your own life. These moments can be (and likely should be) very simple. The laugh of a child, the kindness of a stranger, and yes, even the color purple. God offers us reminders every day of just how much we are loved, if only we have the eyes to see.
As we use these grace journals, I don’t want the experience to end on the page. I encourage you to speak with your family and friends about what you discover. When you’re at lunch or dinner, or perhaps in the car after school, ask about moments of grace throughout the day. We are accountable to one another, regardless of our relationship, to encourage a continuous shift toward God. This journal can be a good way to be encouraging.
Finally, you may have heard me say this in church, but I want to start the encouragement right here. A new school year is the chance to start a new habit, and I want your new habit to be Saint Michael. We need one another to grow in our faith. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We are the help and support and encouragement that we each need.
This year, prioritize your time as you know God hopes you will and make Saint Michael a habit. We want you to pray here, learn here, and serve here. In short, we want you. May this year be filled with new experiences that inspire and transform you, and all in the name of Christ!
The Rev. Dr. Christopher D. Girata