Friday, April 13, 2018

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! What a joy and relief it is to say those words after the long journey through the Lenten wilderness. We encountered despair, doubt, fear, death, and much more during Lent and Holy Week, and now that all that unpleasantness is behind us--now that we have survived our walk with Jesus to the Cross and death--what do we do next? We focus on the new life that Christ's death and resurrection have made possible.

This Holy Week and Easter Day have been the best of my life, because all of you responded to my invitation to be vulnerable and to share your deep stories of faith. You have showed me and others, your feet, your wounds, your scars, and your Good News of new life, as I have showed you mine. Vulnerability and authenticity are best foundations I know for building a healthy and vibrant congregation. We have survived much, and that has given us the strength to explore this new life at St. Helena's, which we marked on Sunday with the dedication of our new sign, a wonderful gift from our sisters and brothers at Grace Episcopal Church in Hinsdale.

During Eastertide, we will be focusing on our new life in a variety of ways. Today, our vestry will begin its two-day retreat on evangelism and mission at the Nicholas Center downtown. Adult and children's formation will focus on deepening our understanding (and practice) of our Baptismal Covenant. We will host a number of community events, including our Day of the Children celebration with a kung fu demonstration and folkloric dancers on April 29, followed by the Blessing of the Bikes on May 6. And we will begin our work on our evanglism grant from the Episcopal Church on sacred storytelling. I hope that all of you will help us to continue the momentum of our Lenten and Holy Week experience, so that we can all be signs of the abundant life that Jesus has given us.

Easter blessings,
Fr. Ethan+

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