Wednesday Word: Love
From the way we toss that word around you would think that every use is equal to every other use. It should be obvious that that's not the case. For instance, I love pie and triple chocolate fudge ice cream. I love football. I love my mom, my wife, and my daughter. I love Canon Beach, Oregon. I love the mountains of western Montana. I love seafood. But my love of pie, mountains, and the women in my life are not equal. We can't put our love into a mathematical equation. Sometimes we can't even quantify in an emotional sense what one kind of love means to us over and against another kind of love.
At our diocesan convention, Assistant Bishop Chilton Knudsen gave her address in which she was telling us about her two-year experience here in Maryland. She relayed a story of when she was first elected bishop and a mentor told her, “Being a bishop is easy, just remember to love your people, have fun, and say your prayers.”
Remember to love your people.
This was essentially the same advice given to me when I was ordained to the priesthood. Love your people. Celebrate with them in times of joy. Stand with them in solidarity. Kneel with them in prayer. Weep with them in times of sorrow. And remember that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
When I was going through the search process, my good friend Jane (who will be preaching here on June 18), continually told me that she heard a touch of excitement in my voice whenever I talked about St. John's. Being one who tries not to get too excited, I generally shrugged it off. I mean, really, how excited could I get about transplanting my family 3000 miles and having to wait until noon for the first college football games to air?
As usual, she was right.
This has been a good move for us. It hasn't been perfect, but it's been good; and even God didn't create the perfect, he created the good. From the hospitality of the search team, to the warm welcome we received upon our arrival, it's been good. From our opening worship together on All Saints' Sunday to the quiet, small, prayerful group that gathers for Evening Prayer, it's been good. And at Mayfest, someone asked me how things were going and how people were treating us. I responded, “Everyone has been great, and people have been unobtrusively supportive.” Meaning that people aren't hovering over us, but they show up in a variety of ways at a variety of times with a variety of little gestures letting us know we are welcome.
It's hard to put into words just how good things have been, how much I've enjoyed being part of this congregation, and how good you all have been for my soul. I can't give you a list of equivalency, but know that you are right up there with pie, my mountains, and my girls.