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Faith Flows Freely,Trinity June 10, 2018 Remarks

Posted by Dave Griffith on June 10, 2018 at 11:25 AM

With our rector on sabbatical I was asked to speak this Sunday. What follows are my remarks. Several of us have been asked to witness our experiences at Trinity and I was delighted to do so. 


Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Good Morning. I am delighted to be with you this morning and participate in the time-honored tradition of being a witness. While I know most of you, for those I don’t my name is Dave Griffith, and Jacqui and I have been attending members of Trinity since 1993 when we moved here from Newtown Connecticut. We raised our family here; we built a life here, and our experience here strongly influenced my call to service at Episcopal Community Services when I retired.

Let's start with today’s Gospel reading:

“The crowd came together again so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

What I hear in these words is the power of a spiritual community, as well as the behavior necessary to fully join. Also, the words invoked by Lincoln that serve as core advice as to the destructive power of a house divided.

So taking these thoughts let me share our story.

In 1993 we came to Solebury, and as we were building our house, we moved into an apartment complex next to Doylestown Hospital. Some of you will recall the winter of 93 was snow and ice, lots of snow and ice, and a small apartment with a 2 and 5-year-old was going to test the system.

Jacqui and I wandered into Trinity the week before the fall house tour, and we were sucked into the community. Helen Montogomery whose husband Monty was my first boss at IBM welcomed us, and within a week the kids were playing at Kyle Evans house, and we were having dinner with Ian and Jane McNeil, and he and I wound up parking cars and started what would become a best friend friendship.

These and many other new friends made that first winter much more bearable. A faith community had put its arms around us and welcomed us into their house.

Time passed, we moved into our house, and Lindsay and Ian grew. Dave Anderson asked me to “help out “ with stewardship, meaning join the Vestry and dig in. Out of that experience came foyer dinners, small groups, and formal stewardship education. The kids as they grew became acolytes, Sunday school participants, helpers at house tour, and the Christmas bazaars. When my daughter went off to boarding school, she asked, and we hosted a brunch for her church moms. Women who had taken her under their wing, taught her to knit, bake, serve tea, and while I can't prove it, shop. They also served as role models of what family, community, and being a strong woman mean. We served in the same role for our friend's children.

A faith community had put its arms around us and welcomed all of us into their house.

Jacqui and I went on to serve on the Vestry, me as finance warden and she as outreach and then strategic planning. Dave Anderson, our priest at the time, was impossible to say no to, must be a seminary course you take. In the late 1990’s we started to plan for expansion as we were growing. I taught Sunday school with Kin Sager and Sharon Burd. Years later one student would be on my Vestry, and the other came to work for me at Modern. I am not old; they are just young, but Jen still calls me Mr. Griffith. I was asked to cook a few lobsters with brothers faithful and true. That number now stands over 20000 and those brothers are indeed faithful and true.

A faith community had put its arms around us and welcomed us into their house and now was asking us to do the same.

Mother’s Day weekend, the phone rings and the church is on fire. Arson we would learn, and the community comes together and grows stronger, our youth leads us. We worship in the elementary school and out of the ashes we build a new school, repair the Chapel and build the sanctuary we are in today.

In the devastation, a faith community had put its arms around all of us and taught us that a church is not a building.

The Andersons leave, and we call a new Rector. It does not go well, and we learn that Mark was right. If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. We go through a tough time; we lose our way, we stop listening. People leave, people, hurt, but slowly we heal, we call an interim rector Emory Bynum, and he asks Lorri Perkins and me to serve as wardens. We are in the midst of a recession, and my business is demanding all of my time, but my church is calling. It becomes one of the most rewarding experiences of my life leading me to accept the job as Executive Director at ECS when I step away from day to day at Modern.

A faith community had put its arms around us and welcomed us into their house, and through service, we grow and learn what is important in our faith.

We call Rick and Ellen. Ginny continues as our ever-present assistant. Tim still tickels the keys. Together they bring a new life and worship to this place. Times change. We say goodbye to good and faithful servants. My sister in law Anne, Monty Montogomery, Doug McArthur, Ian and Jane McNeil to name a few.

The ministry I am most proud of is the reaching out we do to each other when we are in need. My call has been to help individuals, young and old seeking employment and reach into my network and experience and coach them through the process. My great joy is that more than a few folks have landed employment, but not because of my network or sage advice, but as I learn, because they were not alone.

A faith community has put its arms around us and welcomed us into their house and asked us to do the same. Know that as a community we are never alone.

And so we welcome new families, new children, new individuals. The times change, and programs vary, the community around us changes, but a faith community on the not so quiet hill in Solebury still stands. And it welcomes us into this house and continues to ask us to do the same for the strangers among us and not just on this hill, but hills far and wide, for there is need everywhere.

And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

So let me witness this here and now and I call on you to do the same.

Trinity is a bedrock in my life, not the building but the community and through the faith that flows so freely here. We give freely of our time, our treasure and our talents to this community and it has given so much more back than we have provided.

We all are asked to live into our baptismal covenant as individuals, but also as a people of God, bound by a common faith.

Will you love your neighbor as yourself? And the people answer. We will

Will you respect the dignity of every human being? And the people answer. We will

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? And the people answer. We will.

We are indeed not perfect, and as Adam and Eve, we are flawed from the beginning. But when we answer ”We will” to our baptismal covenant as both an individual and as a community of faith, and we truly live into the promises of the resurrection; and our “we wills” turn into intentional actions. When we do that, we stand as a witness to the power of Gods love, God’s forgiveness, and the joy of letting his word being our guide.

Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

I stand as a witness that this is true. I thank you all, past, present, and those who will come, for making this so. May we welcome as we have been greeted. Together let us reach out to the stranger, the broader community, and together answer our universal call to service. In doing so witness, stand as examples, and share that which we have and that which we experienced with all our brothers and sisters.

For here faith flows freely.

And the people answer. We will.

Amen.

 


Categories: Griffith Thoughts, Muddy Boots, Leadership

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