Dear Members of Christ Church, Ithan:
Here we are in the 15th month of this interim time! Your Vestry has been very busy doing important work during this transition focused on better understanding your mission and experimenting with ways to be church in the future.
Your Discernment/Search Committee has been hard at work listening to you and formulating a profile of Christ Church, Ithan that has been published. Applications are being received, resumes and accompanying information are being reviewed and currently initial Skype interviews are being arranged. You are well on your way to the call of your next Rector. This is an exciting time for your faith community.
By now, many of you may be anxious and wondering "how long, O Lord?" We are at the best part of our journey together! Christ Church, Ithan has done well during this interim time. Much has been accomplished, as your leadership has been strong and faithful. All of you have come together and shared your time and talent to support your church at a critical time. But you continue to wait. Waiting is hard work in itself. And waiting is a holy enterprise.
How we wait as Christian people is so important. There are many different kinds of waiting. There is the tapping your foot, staring off into space waiting that happens in the supermarket checkout line. There is the bored and restless waiting in traffic on the "blue route." There is the eager, anticipatory waiting in line at Citizens' Park for a Phillies game. No matter what, waiting is just so hard to do.
A Christian person waits differently. Christian waiting is hopeful, expectant, and full of promise. It is active waiting that is future focused and exciting. Christian waiting is rooted in the realization that as God has been faithful, so God will be faithful. Christ Church, Ithan can wait expectantly because it knows this faithful God. God has accomplished great things in and through your faith community over time and God still has great things in store for you. So, this is a moment of possibility in which God is very near.
As you reach further into this transition time, wait hopefully because you know God is working in and through all of this, beckoning you into a future that will be of God's making. You can wait well if you simply go with God, be clay in the hands of the potter. God will shape you into a new people if you let him. Continue to pray during this transition time and stay open to the new thing that God is doing.
J. Heinrich Arnold speaks about another way of waiting. He speaks of it as "living for Christ in the daily grind," in his book by the same title. He reminds us that our waiting is active, alive. This is not a time to sit my idly waiting for a new Rector who will save you and transform Christ Church miraculously. This is your time to figure out the kind of church you want to be; it is the time to become clearer about your mission.
If you are to wait well, "living for Christ in the daily grind" means creating connections, deciphering needs, being present, and being the hands and feet of Christ. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, praises them for doing the good they are already doing and he urges them to do more. "Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing) you should do so more and more."
This is a time to do more! A community that lives for Christ in the daily grind will be ready to welcome a new Rector to join them in the work they are already doing. How excited someone would be to enter such a church, alive with the Lord, always looking for more ways to serve one another and the community.
So, wait well! Wait with and for God. God will bring to completion the good work you have begun. Cooperate with God. Go with God. Live for Christ in the daily grind. Do more! You are God's people and how great is that!
Blessings to you as you continue this holy journey in this time of transition.
The Rev. John W. Sosnowski