The Church Gives Witness to Grace

Bishop Walter Hunt once said that the teaching of Jesus can be summarized in three commands: “Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Don’t be afraid.”  As Christians, we seek to live this way in our collective life and personally.  By following these commands we witness to the grace of God and our actions allow others to see Jesus today.
 
We are not always comfortable witnessing.  It can seem arrogant and self referential.  But acting out of our experience of God’s grace is transformative for us and for others around us.  This month there will be two major acts of witnessing in and through our parish.
 
A small group of women, including Kathleen Lazarou, Nancy Cook, Julia Wolf, and Sharon Davis,  have organized an effort for St. Stephen’s to be present at the March for Women in Austin on January 21.  This non-partisan effort will be a gathering of women and men to give voice for the need for public policies that honor women and girls.  There will be a meeting on Sunday, January 8,  at 9:30 a.m. in Pecore Hall, if you want to join this witness or to learn more.
 
On January 18 at 7 p.m. the Reverend Scott Painter will be ordained to the priesthood at St. Stephen’s.  Ordinations are the rite by which the bishop and clergy lay hands on a deacon, joined by the prayer of the community, to invite the Holy Spirit to come upon a person to make them a priest.  Through much study, practice, prayer, work, and sacrifice, individuals prepare for the ordained ministry.  The rite of ordination if the way that the Church confirms God’s presence in an individual and consecrates him or her to bless, declare absolution of sin, and to offer Holy Eucharist.  Scott is becoming a priest, as a witness to his faithfulness to God’s call to him.  He is becoming a priest because we serve as the witnesses to God’s action in him as the Church.
 
These days call us to embody grace.  I invite you to join us in witness.

- The Reverend Lisa Hunt