Monday, November 18, 2013

Who's on your sidewalk?

Last week, I received an email from my Mom saying my home parish’s priest, Rev. Kate, would be mentioning me in her sermon on Sunday. There were no more details. I wasn’t worried, more intrigued. Fortunately for me, St. James’ uploads audio recordings of every sermon.

I recommend to everyone to take 12 minutes and listen here. Rev. Kate makes the point that the church is not simply a building but it’s the people and community. The church is us, but not only all of us in the global community in all places but also throughout time. Rev. Kate reminds us that God is the God of the living, which means those who have come before us are still alive. And those living now and throughout time, the people of the church, our community are supporting us.

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Rev. Kate offers a metaphor for life as a marathon. The runners of the marathon are us, the living who are running the race of life. However if you’ve seen a marathon being run, you’ll notice the runners are the minority of those present. The entire route, especially the finish line, is lined with crowds cheering on the runners. They are cheering us on.

The sermon continues to make the point, “you and I are also running the race, living the life with integrity, compassion and joy and a real marathon it is. What a strength it is to know there are folks on our sidewalks calling out our names, waving encouraging signs, punching the air as we pass by.” Rev. Kate shared some of those who are on her personal sidewalk and I would like to do the same.

Whenever I feel the desire to be home, I can count on my parents to make me feel home when I talk with them even if it’s over the Internet with thousands of miles between us. They’re my biggest fans, encouragers, and supporters; always there to show me love and remind me why I’ve decided to do this year in the Philippines. They’ll always keep me grounded and feel at home no matter how far away I am.

Whenever I have a moment that I can’t share on the blog, I have four best friends I can send an email to and get a quirky, sarcastic response back. They keep me laughing even during my lowest lows. Also, even though all of us are doing completely different things with our lives, we are all experiencing what life is like in the “real-world.” They help me remind me of my dreams, that I’m not really missing anything at home, and that they’ll always be there to pick me up.

Whenever I experience something, I think nobody will understand I can always count on a fellow YASCer to have experienced the same thing. There’s a reason the program brought us all together before separating us. We are scattered all of the world but our daily challenges and joys are more similar than you would think. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you aren’t alone and someone else “gets it.”

When I’m feeling completely alone, I remember all of the parishes and members of the Diocese of Virginia praying for me. Sometimes, it’s as though I can feel those prayers pushing me forward. I know I’m not truly alone. I couldn’t do it without everyone’s continuous support.

Those are just a few members of my community, my church who are on my sidewalk as I run this marathon YASC journey. As Rev. Kate explains, “you have yours. They’re on your sidewalk. Think of them during communion For the truth is they are around that great table with us. It’s a table that stretches around the globe and spans all time. As you run your race look for them on your sidewalk.”

Thanks for reading!

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