Over the summer and into fall the readings from The Gospel According to Luke point to one person only. Our Trinitarian God; God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Summed up nicely following a couple of parables on the topic Jesus said, "a servant cannot be in love equally to two masters," and "you cannot serve God and wealth." Really from all of these readings what I glean is the importance of putting God first in our lives.
At the last non-worship event that I was a part of at my now former parish, we had a yard sale. Knowing I was soon to leave a lot of the children came by to chat with me, and offer me hugs. One of them asked "but if you love us, why are you leaving us?" I explained to her that when God calls, we must listen to Him. God unveiled my move to me over a long period of time. During this time I asked lots of questions and God's answer came to me through God's people. I truly believe that fact. I thank God and what the work of the parish of St. John's the Baptist, its Search Committee/Vestry, the Diocesan Canon to the Ordinary and the Bishop made my call to St. John's quite clear.
In some ways I am coming home. What I love about following God, is that nothing looks or is quite the same as before. Even in the familiar, God invites us into the new, in the now, into the "yes" of this moment of our time with our Lord. For instance, except for visiting my Father-in-Law and other relatives and friends, I did not spend much time in Stockton. I met Marie while we both worked at the same restaurant in the San Fernando Valley area of the southern part of our state, where I was born and raised. This is the area where we got marred, had our children, and became a family together. This was also the area in my life where God reached out to me through my faithful Sunday attendance in the Episcopal Church and helped me see that I was not meant for the television industry, but instead God's church.
Living into the "yes" of God's call led Marie, Harry, Amy, pets, and I to Virginia to attend seminary. We were as surprised as anyone to find ourselves there and not one of the local California schools. We were even more surprised, and at the time Delighted, that God made it possible to remain in Northern Virginia. Now with our children done with school, one post college and working in Chicago, we were delighted to discover God calling us "home."
In the summer of 2018 Marie and I visited California and we felt a tremendous pull towards our roots. When St. Joh's flew me out for an interview, I discovered the same feeling as well. I quickly experienced a deep love for our parish people, the wider community and Lodi itself. I prayed mightily that God would point us in this direction. By the time this piece is published in the newsletter, we Acherman's minus Amy but plus Floyd the cat, will be in town and soon begin our lift at St. John's.
As you look back on your life, can you now see a time where God was inviting you into something new? Like me, are you in tune with the call enough that, like the ultimate trust exercise, you can live into the movement of the moment in the holy now, and be a part of the beginning of new adventure. I hope so! Even if not, I pray that with our time together we will continue to put God first, look to God, and see where Jesus-Holy Spirit-Lord leads us together. Because where these is God, there is love, and it is good.
Welcome to the beginning of our time together. I look forward to meeting all of you, joining together in worship, service and play, and always living into the "yes" we are invited into by God.