Beloved Community of St. George’s,
I hope that this message finds you safe and well, whether you sheltered in place and have stayed or you sought out safety elsewhere. As we watch the damage being assessed and speculate about how coming home will happen, we are scattered yet united. The nature of perseverance, community and kindness that defines St. George’s is the same that will carry us through this time.
While taking a break from news coverage and wrangling pets here in our Houston hotel, I was reading from Padraig Tuama’s work, In the Shelter. He was reflecting on how in the Gospel of John, after the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus retreats from the enamored crowds and sets out to the sea with his disciples.
There, "It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going." - John 6:17-21
Tuama remarks on how this story, when told with both parts, demonstrates “a broad storyboard about absence, presence and the changing nature of circumstance.” The love of God is known in profound sharing, as well as in profound fear. It is found in where we have been and in where we are going. Found in our triumphs and collapses. Found in our regrets and in our hopes.
Christ is wherever we are, present, Christ is here. “Hello to here.”
So, beloved community, let us be brave and resilient and strive to open our hearts to wherever we are. As Tuama explains, "In prayer, to begin where you are not is a poor beginning. To begin where you are may take courage, or compromise, or painful truth telling. Whatever it takes, it's wise to begin there. The only place to begin is where I am, and, whether by desire or disaster, I am here."
Would you join me and the St. George’s community in prayer?
Gather your household together, take a moment to catch your breath, and think about your child’s classmates and their families-- the StG community; use the image at the top of this post as a guide. Imagine that we are with them in your head. Feel that we are with them in our hearts.
Then, if you feel so called, share a picture with the school via firstname.lastname@example.org of your family, your clean-up efforts, your travel or whatever you feel is right to share. In offering these photos, we can find a way to stay connected, finding Christ with the patient invitation, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
- Episcopal Identity