NOVEMBER 2017

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

How comfortable are you with change? How do you and I deal with the many changes that beset us throughout our lives? Change is always difficult. I am reminded of the little old lady who stood up at a lecture that Dr. Wernher Von Braun was giving. She said to the good doctor, “Why can’t we forget about all these new-fangled ideas about going out into space and be content to stay at home and watch television like the good Lord intended?”  Those “new-fangled ideas,” however,  are all around us.Everything seems to change. We live in a flattened galaxy of one-hundred-billion stars that change position at the super-speed of light. An incredible number of our individual body cells die each day, and an incredible number take their place. Scores of people will be born as you read this letter. Almost that same number will die. The stock market will change next week. The weather forecast will be revised. We all experience changes like death, illness, divorce, and job termination. We cry out for changes for the better – for transformations to occur in our lives.

All Saints’ Day occurs on November 1st every year. It is a time when we need to realize that  a change has already occurred in our lives. That is the Good News. God has already laid his hand upon us, and adopted us for all eternity as members of his family. This fact was publicly proclaimed at our baptism. We can justly and proudly say that we are all “saints of God,” for a saint is a person who belongs to God, one whom God has claimed as his very own.

 In the field of theology there is something known as “Process Theology,” which holds that the universe is essentially to be understood as creative, organic, and temporal. It also holds that God is continually creating, continually changing for the better; that, in the long run, he is undefeatable; and that he will get his creative work done, no matter what the obstacles. The problem for us who are in the world is how we fit into that change, how we become part of that process of creation which is taking place all around us. A more significant question might be how we allow that change to work through us in a positive way to accomplish God’s will.

One of the ways that saints allow change to take place in the world, and thereby accomplish God’s will, is through the sharing of their material possessions. For thirteen-year-old Joey Russell, his most prized possession used to be a 1912 postcard of the original Titanic, signed by an actual survivor of the ship’s sinking.  A few years ago, Joey had saved up all of his chore money to buy the postcard at an auction.  The mania surrounding the release of the movie "Titanic" assured Joey an excellent deal if he ever decided to sell his card. And he did decide to sell it, but not for his own benefit.  When Joey learned that the mother of his best friend, Kate, needed a bone marrow transplant,  Joey offered to sell his card to raise money for the procedure.  Kate’s mother needed at least $60,000 in order to get the transplant, and without it she might die. When talk show host Rosie O’Donnell heard about Joey’s act of kindness, she invited him on her show. There, she introduced him to the cast of the musical “Titanic.”  But that wasn’t the only reason she had invited him on that day. O’Donnell, along with the Titanic’s producers, had arranged to buy Joey's postcard for $60,000.  Now Mary Shelley, Kate’s mother, could get her transplant. Saints like Joey Russell have a healthy understanding of the place of material wealth, and they use it to brighten people’s lives, and bring about change in the world.

  On All Saints’ Day we remember all those who have shown us how to live abundant, God-honoring lives, like Joey Russell.  As we remember them, let us pray for the wisdom and power to follow their example.  Let us thank God for adopting us  and making us his own at our baptism, and for bringing  about a change in our lives. Let us also pray that God will continue to allow us to be the channels through which his unconditional love and acceptance can be shared with  his entire creation, thereby enabling us live up to our divine calling as saints of the most high God.

Faithfully,

The Rev. Philip W. Stowell

Vicar