Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Religion is to be Connected: Part 1

Episcopal parishes are named in a wide variety of manners and customs.  Some are given the name of a saint because the date of their founding coincides with that particular saint's commemoration.

Others are affiliated with particular saints because of some ethnic or historical connection.  Some take the first name on the list "Christ" like our kindred in Savannah, St. Simon's (ironic?), Kennesaw, Norcross, Augusta, Cordele, St. Mary's (?), Dublin, and Valdosta. Are there others?

Along with the "Christ churches" are those using one of the other titles bestowed on Jesus: Immanuel, Redeemer, [Our] Savior, King, [Christus] Victor, and Good Shepherd.  There are others.

Advent falls into yet another category that uses significant events or actions of God in Christ to which to pay tribute.  Include with us Epiphany, Nativity, Resurrection, Atonement, or Incarnation.

There are other smaller groups, for instance those relying on some connection to or an event in the life of St. Mary, the Virgin; Assumption, Annunciation, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady, Holy Family.  There are others also.

Also worth noting are those parishes named after the Trinity or some member of the Trinity in particular the third person: Holy Spirit, Holy Comforter. There are also others here.

Lots of ways to name Episcopal parishes and all of them expressions of connection.  By way of "All Saints (yet another name!) we are connected to a long history of exemplary witness in leadership, in scholarship, in missions, and in martyrdom.

By way of its name, our parish is connected to an expression of hope and memory, to an admission to judgement and the acceptance of redemption, to a yearning for completion and reward and to an expectation that even more is soon to happen in our connections with God.

This past Easter Sunday and the days that follow it are the best expression I know of how connected we are to each other and to those before us and to those after us.

Not only have we been joined by some of our number who seldom attend, we have seen extended families filling pews with children and siblings living far away.  Even the way the church fills and forces us to sit closer to each other implies that connection.

Easter is the day that all these connections need to start.  Without Easter there wouldn't be any saints, any notable attributes, any remarkable Marian moments,  any attention on God's sustaining us with a comforting spiritual presence.

Connected is what the church hopes to be.  Connected with God is what the word religion means.

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