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"Gotcha!"

That was O Rector My Rector's comment to me during coffee hour yesterday.

Last week while I was away to Florida, the first summer combined church service celebrated Youth Sunday.  The Rector often uses this service dedicated to and led by the young people of the parish as his opportunity to thank the adults who'd worked with the kids of Grace.  There are many laborers in the vineyard, with more hands available (and needed) to tend to the harvest that is our youth.  Heart Of My Heart and I have been blessed to find ministry among our youngest members, many times learning so much more from them than we could ever impart to them.  As the next chapter of our lives (for HOMH and me) is about to commence with the start of seminary, the seasons of change start taking on more significance than just the heat of the day and the humidity in the air.  Last week, the Rector called HOMH forward to recognize her many talents and gifts in ministry over the years.  He caught me this week. 

In each instance, we were presented lovely framed pictures taken by our resident parish photographer.  They are beautiful images of the Nave, one at the crossing looking from the John the Baptist shelf on the Gospel side across the pulpit, steps to the High Altar, and lectern to the Lady Altar and Blessed Virgin Mary shelf.  The other, also at the crossing, looks up from the middle to the great arch and rood beam of the chancel.  In both, the church is adorned for Christmas which is significant to each of us, and both of us.  Heart Of My Heart was Christmas President of the Altar Guild before we became an item and began courting.  We were married in early January with the church still dressed in all the hanging greens, wreaths and glorious poinsettias.  Later, I also was Christmas President of the Altar Guild. 

Yesterday, we were sent out from the service for a Home Communion visit.  We've done this a few times before, but now I find myself wishing we'd done it this way ('sent out two-by-two') all along.  I led the office, HOMH read the lesson, we both spoke of the sermon preached about Confidence, and I administered the bread.  This was yet another tangible example of how this is not my ministry, but it is our shared ministry.  She is my biggest advocate.  I am her best helper.  We go well together. 

Someone commented recently on an earlier post about being challenged to begin seeing myself as a parish priest with "Hatch, match, and dispatch.  Sound about right to me too."  While this typically refers to baptism, marriage and death, I can see it a little differently here.  Heart Of My Heart and I were 'hatched' in marriage, we were 'matched' for ministry, and now we are being 'dispatched' (not too quickly please) to go out into the world as missioners from Grace to work the larger vineyard.  And my constant and ready reply to all of this is and ever will be "Only by God's Grace and Only with God's help".     

Thank you, Grace.  With your grace and God's help, we are created anew.  We love you, now and always.