Dear Saint Matthew’s,
The scriptures we will hear at Sunday worship this weekend will begin with the words of the 1st verse of the 22nd chapter of the book of Genesis:
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."
Do you remember what comes after that? Whoa, you gotta hear it, though it is likely one of the most difficult words of Scripture to hear, wondered about by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, who share one ancestor in Abraham, for thousands of years now.
Just two things I will say here, perhaps to wet your appetite:
 Whenever God calls, the response of God’s servants in scripture is always what Abraham said that day, “Here I am.” You know it’s meant to be the same for us, if we consider ourselves servants of God. Our attitude to life is fundamentally one of listening expectantly for the voice of God. We not only expect to hear God speak. We expect to hear God’s voice addressed to each of us, sometimes in terms of the nitty-gritty details of our ordinary lives; other times in terms of the big stuff going on around us as we live. Be ready to look up and respond, “Here I am.”
 But there are three words that come earlier in that verse that can be quite disturbing, “God tested Abraham.” All through my life we have liked to assert that God is comfort. And yes, for sure, a God who is defined as ‘love’ is going to be comfort. But at times, love is also a challenge. I believe it is more than okay, that it is real truth, to consider ourselves to be living now in a time of testing. To admit is to be able to engage the test. To admit is to ask for the gift of courage. I need to do that these days. Do you?
This past Sunday the Vestry voted to bring together a committee, a task group made up both of Vestry members and other parishioners, to respond to the guidelines provided by church and state for opening our church building again to use. Churches all around us are at various points in the same process. We are seeking to do so carefully and well, safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all, and keeping in mind the sacred reasons why we gather as a community of faith. I am grateful, as I am sure you will be as well, to our sisters and brothers who are working on the committee. The committee members are:
Dr. Rebecca Kasenge
Please pray through these days for the success of their deliberations.
Do join us this Sunday at 10 and following on the Zoom Coffee Hour to offer our community’s sincere congratulations to our graduates in this year of 2020.
Blessings and peace to all,