At our home, the camp sleeping bags and life jackets have been replaced by backpacks and lunchboxes as the school year begins. It's quite a shift for us all, isn't it? Whether we have children in the home or only occasionally drive by a school, the summer is coming to an end. As a parish, we mark this transition with Rally Sunday this coming Sunday, September 12. We will have a festive lunch outdoors after the 10:00 am service (thank you to everyone who prayed for good weather—all signs point to "yes"), games for the children, and a good time to reconnect after a long time away. If you are not comfortable joining us for in-person worship in the sanctuary or Hadley Hall, but want to join the lunch, we hope you'll come by around 11:15 am and join the fellowship—all are welcome! To those returning to school or work, we hope you'll bring your backpacks or lunchboxes or briefcases to service as we offer a backpack blessing to start the year. A reminder that masks are required for indoor worship (both in the Sanctuary and in our additional seating in Hadley Hall); masks are optional outside.
This is not the first Rally Sunday any of us would hope for as a parish or the beginning of a school year as a society. On Sunday, we'll hear Jesus tell us that those who want to follow after him will need to take up their cross and follow him. Not easy words to hear—not the exuberant, celebratory scripture we might choose. But I think it might be the one we need to hear in this time of real frustration, anxiety, exhaustion, and hopelessness. Why? Because it is an invitation to "never go it alone," to "joining up with another," to "staying close to Jesus" by doing exactly what he does. Following after the one who goes ahead of us. There is our good news. It's for you and me: Don't forget that Jesus goes with us, that God is with us. Follow me, Jesus says. We don't walk alone, but together, here at Epiphany. And Jesus leads the way. This Sunday, let's celebrate that double gift of being community together, of knowing God is with us—no matter what. That's a hope beyond all hope. And, it's yours.
See you Sunday,