The days of Holy Week have passed, and we are now in the midst of the Easter Season. What observations from Holy Week can I carry with me – with us – into Pentecost and Ordinary Time, the longest liturgical season on our calendar? (Because the liturgical color for Ordinary Time is green, this time is also known as the green season, which runs from the day after Pentecost to the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.)

During Holy Week, our community demonstrated its exceptional unity. We transcended our individual identities and merged into a cohesive whole. A multitude of volunteers, numbering well over 100, lent their unique talents to every facet of our worship. This outpouring of diverse gifts created a rich worship experience that resonated not only within our community but also touched the hearts of many beyond. This is the essence I wish to carry forward; we are a vibrant community, brimming with individuals who are eager to not just participate but also shape our worship experiences.

The warm support and abundant talents that enriched our Holy Week are treasures I hold dear. It reminds me that we are all here by choice, not by obligation. We all have the freedom to worship here, elsewhere, or even nowhere. Yet, more and more people are choosing St. John’s Essex as their spiritual home, a place to learn, worship, be together in fellowship, and pray. Our ongoing success hinges on our invitation for individuals to bring their authentic selves into our church and share their unique gifts and talents freely. The true essence of God’s grace is realized when we empower others to express their creativity and talents.

Let us make ordinary time anything but ordinary. Let us make this time extraordinary. Let us keep dreaming of breaking down the perceived barrier between the Altar and the People. As Rev. Kate says every Sunday, may we remember that the Altar is God’s Table, not ours. The Altar is not ours to control nor ours to create barriers that restrict others from expression, devotion, and authorship. Come forward freely to the Altar, and place your gifts and talents upon it, to the glory of God. If you want to contribute or participate, talk to me about it. Talk to Kate. Through your contribution, you give us the pure and intense joy of seeing your individual light shine. And then, when our individual lights combine, we create a beacon to others – the brightest beacon, a beacon brighter than the very sun. It is then that we shine radiantly as one.