Friday, 28 March, 2013

Dearly Beloved of God,

I greet you in the name of our Lord!  You will find enclosed in your mailing a letter from our Treasurer outlining her concern for the deficit we have experienced so early in this year.  It is not unusual to run deficits during the year but the number is a bit large for the end of February and so she is reminding us and encouraging us to respond.

As your Rector, I want to respond by a heart-to-heart chat.  I want to know how you are doing –  How is your family?  How is your health?  How are you making your way through life and weathering the various challenges we all face?  Most of all, because I am at heart a pastor, I want to know – how is your spiritual life?  Life can be very hard on our faith.  Often troubles will turn us toward God.  But normal living does not tend to turn us toward God.  In the normal ebb and flow of life we can often drift away from God.  Perhaps that is why one of God’s favorite images for us is of sheep.  “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned each of us to our own way” is a picture from Isaiah 53:6.  It is so very easy to get distracted – to wander, and suddenly when we look around us we see we have drifted away from the safety of God’s presence.

I know that the Lord cares for you.  He cares about your family, about your health, your circumstances, your finances and your faith.  I know that because of the second part of Isaiah 53:6: “but Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  God took our brokenness and failure, our suffering and laid it upon His Son.  God gave his Son for you and me.  If God was willing to give his Son for you, do you doubt that God will take care of your life and your needs?  The Apostle Paul asked this very question in Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Let me be very frank with you now.  St. Mark’s exists as a tool in the hands of God to serve you and to reach out to our community with the love of God in Christ.  You are the church of St. Marks – Ocean Park and whether we move into the future with spiritual strength and financial stability is ultimately in the hands of God.  God will continue to decide our future and use each of us as instruments in that process.  God will supply our need through the faithful generosity of people who believe in what we are doing.

If you believe in what we are doing and see yourself as a part of that ministry then I encourage you to respond to our Treasurer’s call.  Don’t depend on someone else to take care of this need.

As the Passion Week approaches we are reminded of the great gift of God in Christ through his death on the cross for us.  We are also shown the power of God which was able to raise up his Son from the dead.  It is a demonstration that God is able not only to save our eternal souls, but to take care of us and our families in this life and the next!

My thoughts and my prayers are with you in this season of Resurrection,

Rev. Craig Tanksley