By Sue Kelly
Growing up, my family moved about every five years for my dad’s job as an electrical engineer with General Electric. My parents were from Michigan but we lived in Indiana, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and New York. Sometimes the moves were an adventure but as I became a teenager, they became more traumatic. (Think ninth grader with a boyfriend moving from a junior high in Wisconsin to a New York high school mid-year kind of traumatic! I cried the whole way in the car!) The stable part in each move was finding a house in an area with the best public school and then enrolling in Sunday School or Youth Group at the closest Episcopal Church. Family, faith, and education were important. And I grew to love the Episcopal Church for many reasons but especially for its role in grounding me during my growing up years.
The beautiful Episcopal liturgy continues to sustain and fill me with the Holy Spirit. And I have always felt deeply moved by the blessing at the end of the service.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen
I can still hear the many different voices of past Episcopal priests bestowing the blessing upon me and can visually see their hands raised to make the sign of the cross before sending me out into a tumultuous world. It made me feel safe and secure and loved.
I still need this blessing! I need God’s bidding of peace which surpasses all understanding. I need to keep my heart and mind wrapped in the knowledge and love of God and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord. I need to be reminded that my triune God is with me and will remain with me always no matter what.
But I also have to be willing to do the work: go to church, pray, serve on the vestry, walk for the CROP Walk, help upstairs in Sunday School, welcome newcomers, read scripture as a lector. I need to do these things to keep my heart and mind in that knowledge and love of God. And when the world seems to be full of chaos, I need to have my heart and mind right with God. Hard work to be sure but it can lead to that peace.
In what ways do you keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God? Are there new ministries you might be interested in joining? Maybe you might commit to coming to church more regularly. As a vestry, even in the midst of change, we seek to encourage and support many diverse offerings at Grace so that perhaps this blessing might become a part of you, too. Commit to one new way of growing your heart and mind in the love of Christ this year. In doing so, you may come to experience that peace of God which passes all understanding.