From the Priest Associate

BETWIXT AND BETWEEN

Dear Ones,

It is no secret that we at the Church of the Incarnation are in betwixt and between times. It’s been over a year since our last rector left, and now Rusty, who served as interim for 13 months has returned to Birmingham. Which makes me, I guess, your new interim interim.

For those of you who don’t know me, just a bit of introduction. I grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and lived in Shreveport, Louisiana, where I raised my four sons and eventually married my present husband. When my youngest went to college I was able to go to seminary in Austin, Texas, where we’ve lived for 20 years and where I served as Associate at St. David’s, the big downtown church and then as Rector at St Alban’s for nine years before I retired. That was when we bought our home outside Cashiers, where we now come for six months to escape the heat. And we love it!

Unlike Rusty, I’ll be working part time. I’ll be in the office all day Monday, so if you want to see me that is your best bet. Otherwise I’ll be in a couple more times during the week depending upon meetings and events. I look forward to getting to know more of you.

As a parish we are in what is known as a liminal time. The word limina means the threshold of a doorway, the six or so inches that when you are entering or exiting means that you are neither in the room you just left or the room you are about to enter. Liminal times are always times of change. Think of the children of Israel as they wandered in the desert for forty years before arriving at the Promised Land. Change like this makes us feel insecure, unmoored, anxious. The thing is, though, that we will not be here forever. And when we arrive at our more stable situation we will invariably see that this time, uncomfortable as it is, is a time of great creativity.

Our parish family is biggest in the summer when others like us come to enjoy a respite from cities and heat. We seasonal people need to acknowledge that Incarnation is our home church when we are here, and when the pledge cards are passed out that we are called to respond with gratitude for a parish that is our home away from home. We are family even though we are not all here all year long. And that is a blessing.

When we make a pledge we are making a promise to God that we are making God first in our lives. This is very countercultural, but the God who has blessed us with everything we have doesn’t deserve our leftovers. As we grow in our spiritual maturity we are becoming ever more like Jesus, which means that we become more radically generous, forgiving, and loving. To give freely and joyfully with no strings attached is a mark of spiritual maturity.

Please do plan to attend one of the Stewardship Appreciation Gatherings. Celebrate together and get to know at least one or two people you don’t already know.

Incarnation has a great future just beyond our horizon. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean that God can’t, and God loves us beyond our imagining and holds a dream that we can’t dream by ourselves. God’s dreams always come true.

Blessings and love, Margaret+