Shepherd Story: Connection to Ourselves


CONNECTION TO OURSELVES
The Rev. Stanford Adams
Senior Associate

“For I am convinced,” Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(1)

Paul wrote when this Christian experiment was brand new, and he wrote to remind this small group of Jesus’ followers in Rome that their connection to each other and their connection to God did not depend on their outward circumstances. In Christ they were united in love to each other and to God.

A priest whom I respect writes that the primary task of the church is to communicate union: to help us to know – whether our outward circumstances are filled with joy or difficulty or a mixture of both – that we are united in love with our fellow Christians and with God (2). The union with God that Paul wrote about nearly two thousand years ago has not changed.

This connection happens in a place that is deeper than just what we can see and touch. Our connection to the Holy happens on a deeper plane where what matters is love and connection. Not the kind of love that is cheap or sentimental, but the kind of love that can hold the height of joy and the depth of pain. A deeper plane where we understand ourselves to be connected in a mission that is older than we can imagine and that is as new as today. Our task – the task of the church – is to foster an awareness of this connection, to help us know and feel our connection to the Holy.

Early in my career as a lawyer, I decided to give ten percent of my income to the work of the church. For me, it was a significant gift, and over time it helped me open my heart to this deeper plain of existence. There is no magic to ten percent; in some seasons for me ten percent is too much of a stretch and in other seasons ten percent is too little. The magic is generosity. It’s the practice of significant generosity that over time opens our hearts to God.

And when we know ourselves to be connected in love the results are not just personal, the results change our entire community. The new buildings on our Windsor campus, the growth of our congregation on The Hill, and the vitality of our ministries are all outward signs of your generosity and, in a deeper sense, they are outward signs of our connection in love and mission.

In 2018 your generosity – and our connection in love and mission – will make possible the launch of the Hillside Early Childhood Center to provide affordable and high quality childcare to our neighbors on The Hill; will enable our efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey; will make possible the continued growth of our congregation on The Hill; and will make possible new feeding ministries in our kitchens on both campuses.

Thank you for your commitment to Good Shepherd and for your commitment to the love and connection that we share.

[1] Romans 8:38-39
[2] Things Hidden: Scripture or Spirituality by Richard Rohr, page 29.

 

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