Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!
I am so excited to join all of you as your first full-time priest in charge! I know this is a time of change, excitement, and maybe a touch of anxiety, so let me take this opportunity to share with you an analogy I used with the Vestry when we met in March.
For many years, I have been involved in swing dancing. Anytime God calls a new priest to a church, the new relationship operates very much as a dance. There is a lead (the priest) who has to pay close attention to the follow (the lay people). I don’t see the relationship as a traditional “lead-follow” where the lead is the only one who gets to decide the move and the follow has to do what (traditionally) he says. Rather, the dance is more of a partnership. The lead may introduce or suggest a particular move, but it is up to the follow whether he or she pursues it, or perhaps improvises on the suggestion.
Sometimes, when the connection is new, there are mis-steps. Toes get trod on. The melody gets lost. The partners are focusing on different elements. One partner turns the way the other doesn’t anticipate and arms end up tangled. These are normal happenings until the partners learn one another’s style. The dance works best when both partners are in tune with each other. The follow needs to listen to the lead to hear the structure of the dance, or when the lead is keeping her/him from running into someone else’s space. The lead needs to listen to the follow to find out where s/he is most passionate about the dance, and to help guide the partner in the best way forward. The key element is that both listen and talk to each other. Communication, and especially laughter at those mis-steps, is what keeps the dance smooth, fresh, and fun!
Not only are we dancing with one another, we are dancing with the Holy Spirit as Christ calls us to move deeper in relationship with God. We will both need to keep an ear on the music, to follow the beat that guides us, to listen for the little riffs that might call forth new, unanticipated steps. We will both need to be willing to go in new directions, to explore unfamiliar ground, in order to follow our ultimate Lead – our Lord and Savior.
I look forward to getting to know all of you, as does TJ. Beginning in September, we will be hosting “Potluck with the Priest” at 6:00 pm on the 4th Thursday of the month. The first six people to respond (no repeats) to the Thursday announcement are invited to our home – bring a side-dish or salad for 8 to share, and we’ll fellowship over food and drink.
I hope that you are as excited as I am to see what comes of this new journey together!
Image accessed at http://danielleshroyer.com/the-word-perichoresis/