Fr. Dave seemed at home and comfortable. His sermon was personable and stressed the theme of everyone being welcomed to a banquet that always has enough for everyone. Translated into our lives of St. John's today that means that we have all that we need to be a church that can thrive and not merely survive. All we have to do is to tap into that. Couldn't have said it better, and certainly have said it before on this blog. As long as we live with the knowledge that we are loved in abundance by God who gives us what we need, then we have our fill and can be ready to share that with others. A key statement from Fr. Dave came toward the end of his sermon where he noted the gospel lesson's discussion of "don't just invite your super rich friends to your dinner table in the hope that you will get an invite to their super rich household." He noted that we need to extend ourselves to ALL people, and that no one should be turned away. And the fact that he spent three years at St. Bart's in New York City tells me he means business about being welcoming to ALL kinds of people.
He scored brownie points with me when he came to our Friday noon service to hear about Thomas Galludet. Again, I have sung the praises of our noon day services on this blog, particularly the Friday service with Fr. Lee Graham. He scored more points with me this morning when he noted the hardships St. John's has endured. But rather than rip open the five year-old wound of "the split", he talked of how the parishioners of 1879 stuck together, kept singing the old hymns and trusting in God... even though their beautiful church had burned to the ground. Still, they met. They prayed. And they rebuilt. I appreciated that he took time to study up on the history of this parish, and chose to use that example of our enduring spirit rather than remind us of all the things we already know far too well.
Fr. Dave is still a "Priest-in-charge" which means he doesn't have total authority (that still rests with the Bishop). But if he projects the confidence, and shows he can lead and work well with the other clergy that serve us, this may turn out to be a permanent gig. What a welcome and wonderful experience that would be! If today is any indication, I think we might be headed in that direction. Thanks be to God.