A Message from Rev. C. Phillip Craig, Jr. - June 20, 2021
“And remember, I am with you always” Matthew 28:20
Jennifer, LucyWest, August (the wonder dog) and I drove out of Portland, Oregon on June 4th - homeward bound toward Wilmington. After two very long driving days (and more to go), we stopped for a night of rest in Independence, Missouri. As you may remember, Independence was the historical launching point for the Oregon Trail. It occurred to us that we had completed in two days the reverse of a 2000+ mile journey that had taken those intrepid 19th-century travelers five to six grueling and at times hostile months to finish. Wow. That epiphany most certainly highlighted our gratitude for good highways and a minivan. Importantly, it was also an affirmation of the amazing things courageous people are capable of accomplishing.
May 30th is now behind us, and we are into the long and wonderful season of “the Sundays after Pentecost.” For twenty-six weeks (until Advent) the Gospel readings will illuminate Jesus’ earthly ministry - his teaching, preaching and healing. Time and again we will hear of perfectly normal folks - just like you and me - encountering Jesus, experiencing the power of his words and actions, and then pondering how that experience will transform their lives. For many, Jesus’ call to a life of compassion and service will be theirs to follow. For others, though, the cost will seem too high.
There is no doubt that we live in an age far beyond what anyone in first-century Palestine or even on the Oregon Trail could have ever imagined. And yet, our call to Christ’s service in 2021 is no less of a challenge or an opportunity. The question still lies before us - how will our experience of Christ become transformative - both to ourselves and to those around us? I believe with all my heart that St. James Parish is asking these questions of itself right now, and there is such huge potential in the answers that lie ahead.
Our minivan crossed the Cape Fear River into downtown Wilmington on Tuesday, June 8th. As you might expect, it was an emotional moment - to know after almost 3000 miles that we were safely and finally home. Indeed, we are thrilled to be here. And I am so grateful to be your new Rector.
St. James’ community, we have important work ahead of us - to remain grounded in scripture, to reflect on Christ’s teaching, preaching and healing, and to offer ourselves as the hands and heart of God’s love here and now. We are capable of accomplishing amazing things! Thankfully, our courage to step forward is rooted in the eternal knowledge that we are not alone. Indeed, Jesus promised us (and his promises are true) that he would be with us always. So let us now and together answer his call and say “We will, with God’s help.”
Prayer for Guidance,
BCP page 832
O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what You would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.