Thursday, July 25, 2013

Love Found in Tarrytown

On Sunday, June 23rd, the YASCers were graced with the presence of Christ Church in Tarrytown, NY. Graciously welcomed into this community with open arms through a beautiful service which combined cultures to expand our idea of the Episcopal Church.

Many of us grew up in the traditional Episcopal church with an organ playing, classic hymns sung and everything spoken in English. One thing I've come to realize is that is not everyone's Episcopal church.
Episcopalians speak a wide variety of languages and sing a wide variety of songs. Nobody is doing it the wrong way, just a different way.

Photo courtesy of Charlotte File
The Sunday service in Tarrytown combined their Spanish and English speaking congregations to celebrate us YASCers who are about to experience many different ways of celebrating on Sunday morning. It was refreshing and energizing to hear both Spanish and English overlap one another as we all prayed the same prayer. Maracas, tambourines and drums drove our feet to tap and hands to clap along to an upbeat sound. The Venerable Bill Parnell's, Archdeacon of Mission in the Diocese of New York, sermon reminded us of the power of love. (You can read the whole thing here.)

Bill Parnell preaching.
Photo courtesy of David Copley
Here are two parts that stood out to me:

"And that is what we strive to be as the Church – a community formed by Love. We don’t have it
all down perfectly just yet – we are a work in progress, continually being molded by Jesus who is
Love Incarnate. He alone is the one who bears our sins and our brokenness. No scapegoats are
needed, only a community of people who have seen Love at work in our own lives and are
commissioned to tell all that God has done for us. We who seek to follow in the ways of Jesus
are given that work of reconciliation which restores people to wholeness and challenges the
powers that prevent it from happening. It will surely comfort some; it will surely afflict others –
and the Church is called to reach out to both. That’s why Paul talked about a community united
in Jesus where all the marks of distinction and sources of division disappear: neither Jew nor
Greek, slave nor free, male nor female....
Today we have among us about twenty-five people who are being sent to some far-flung corners
of the world to serve in the name of Jesus who is Love Incarnate. Love is about to come to town
in some new ways through their presence. I give thanks for their energy and commitment, their
vision and their willingness to risk crossing oceans and borders and barriers to share the Good
News. But most of us are staying put, and there is no less need for us to be in mission right here.
There is plenty of need for Jesus to tarry a while in Tarrytown, and Love has come to town in the
people who are Christ Church, a community that is being formed by Love in new ways all the
time. Whether you’re staying or going, jump that train and catch that flame. Carry Love to town
by telling the stories of what God has done for you. Listen well to the stories of what God is
doing for those among whom you live. Let Love form a community. I bet you will see Love
conquer a great divide."

Love and support is what I felt throughout the morning from strangers but all brothers and sisters in Christ at Christ Church, Tarrytown. They threw a lovely lunch afterwards and sat down to get to know each one of us. And we were able to witness the blessing of their clothing closet. Another way this wonderful community and Church spreads its love.

That morning gave me great anticipation to celebrate with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, to learn a new way to praise God, and share love with a new community.

Thanks for reading!

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