1 Jn 3: (11-17)18-24
For Jesus, on the Way
Fr. Nathan Baxter
Travelling in Eastertide
Alleluia; Easter Greetings to all.
One great benefit of the liturgical year is the length of the Easter season. Seven weeks provide ample time to celebrate but also to practice two habits of the curious: wondering and pondering. As catechists we ponder and wonder with children throughout the year, but Easter gives us ever more to consider. We usually find ourselves declaring at least once, “The feast of Jesus rising from the dead is so great we celebrate it not just for one day, but for fifty days!” Eastertide allows us all time and space to wonder at Christ’s holy death and rising, and to ponder the grace and mercy won.
This year I find myself pondering another aspect of Easter: Jesus’ post resurrection appearances. What would it be like to suddenly find Jesus walking on the road with you, or sitting on the beach, or coming through the door to join those gathered in the upper room? “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee,” states Jesus as reported in Matthew 26:32. Jesus travelled, and he visited.
During this Eastertide, the Vestry has agreed to take on its own small project of visiting, and I’m encouraging them to invite many of you to go along. Part of our focus this year is to explore how we welcome visitors and expand our connections to greater Amesbury. It seems timely, therefore, to remember what it’s like to be a visitor, and to reacquaint ourselves especially with what children and families both seek and need when they come to church. What kinds of elements and structures welcome them and support their staying? What should we provide when any visitor arrives to explore All Saints’ and crosses the threshold into this part of God’s house?
Thus far we’re working from a still-forming, brainstormed list of suggested churches, both in our Anglican diocese and beyond. So if a Vestry member invites you to accompany him or her for a Sunday morning ‘field trip,’ I hope you’ll say yes! It is good to experience how others’ make us welcome, and to learn from others how we can serve the young in age and young in heart. My prayer is that God will bless our efforts to see His bigger family at worship, and that we will return to our church home here at All Saints’ as we do each Sunday: looking for Jesus, finding Him here and recognizing Him in each other.
Vestry members: Paul Aganski, Nathan Baxter +, Jim Craig, Robert Ebersole, Nathan Etu, Amanda Gonnella, John Haile, Bruce McBrien, Erika McNeil, Chris Sherratt, Ticia Ziegler