OUR STORIES, OUR LIVES – October, 2018

“You find your place, you stay where you’re needed, and you do the best you can.” Those were the words of Doc Adams from the old TV western Gunsmoke describing the life of a doctor in the Old West. I also find that those words apply to recent graduates of the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry, such as myself, who are finding their place. My place is here, with you, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Derby, Kansas and I have to tell you, I feel blessed and happy to be here. It feels right for me and I hope it feels right for all of you as well. I apologize to be so focused on Gunsmoke, but again, I think that old western television show applies to all of us. And that’s because of stories. Gunsmoke was more than just a cowboy shoot-em up TV show, it was one of the first television shows that told stories not just about the main characters. It also told the stories of the individuals who made up the community of frontier Dodge City, Kansas including the storekeepers, the blacksmith (played by Burt Reynolds), the farmers, ranchers, saloon girls, and yes, the town drunk. They all had their stories as part of a community. Our community of believers here at St. Andrew’s also have our own stories and I want to hear those stories. My days at the church during the week are Tuesdays and Thursdays and I love it when people drop by. This last Thursday I spent 1me with Gina, our cleaning person and her 2 year old daughter Gracelynn, and Gina shared her stories of being a single mother and operating her cleaning business. Jerry Milleson dropped in with his dog, Snowball as did Deacon John who shared the thoughts and beliefs behind his newly published book, Being In God’s Presence. John, our computer consultant, shared about his life as an Episcopalian and his life now as a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. I loved hearing it all. As we share our stories with other, we also share our lives. That is what is so wonderful about being an active member of a church. As members of a church community we participate in the unfolding of each other’s lives. Births, bap1sms, school, graduation, jobs, marriages, divorces, illnesses, deaths, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and everything else that makes up life. Successes as well as tragedies enter into our lives, but mostly our daily lives go on in a predictable routine. And there is a beauty to this ongoing predictable routine of our lives from birth to death because of the presence of God that is always there. As we share our stories and our lives we develop a greater sense of God in our lives and the purpose of our lives. My role as a priest at St. Andrew’s is to point to where God is in our lives. In worship, my role is to direct the focus of the congregation to the presence of Christ that is there with us. It is a sacred honor and it is humbling for me to be your priest at this 1me in your lives and to be a part of your stories. I would like to conclude by tagging on to the words of Doc Adams. I found my place, I will stay where I’m needed, and I

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