Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Sign of New Life

On Tuesday, we received and installed our new sign for Wolf Road (see video), which I hope will tell everybody in the neighboring community that great things are happening in our parish. Many thanks to our mission partner, Grace Episcopal Church in Hinsdale, for its incredible generosity in helping us to improve our visibility in the community, so that we may invite new people to join us and be better agents of God's boundless love.

We will dedicate our new sign on Easter Sunday. It seems appropriate that we should mark the new life of our parish on the same day that we celebrate Jesus's Resurrection. I know that St. Helena's has endured several years of struggle and doubt about its future. I can tell you that when I came to St. Helena a year ago, I experienced a parish that was suffering from grief, anger, and distress. In the year that has passed, I have watched these emotions give way to healing, hope, and increased energy for mission. That change has filled my heart with joy.

Holy Week can be a deeply painful and emotionally exhausting experience, as we find in our own lives resonances of Our Lord's suffering as he walks to the Cross on Golgotha and submits to a cruel death. What his mother, Mary, and the disciples don't know is that on the other side of Jesus's death is a life more abundant and abiding than anything than they could have ever imagined. Our new sign on Wolf Road is a symbol of the new life that you have earned through your determination to survive and grasp that glimmer of light beyond the suffering and despair. In the liturgies of Holy Week, we will descend into darkness, but we will also pierce that darkness with the flicker of light from the Paschal Candle, to affirm that Jesus descended to the dead and brought all of Creation out of the darkness to redeem them and give them a future worth celebrating. That is the legacy that we will enjoy in the first Mass of Easter, and in an act as simple as dedicating a new sign that says that St. Helena's, has be pulled out of its grief and suffering to become a new creation.

Abundant blessings,
Fr. Ethan+

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