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What a Powerful Sense of Belonging: A Reflection on Commitment Sunday
On November 2, at the 11:15 Mass, I had an unexpected encounter with the Divine. Of course, I always hope to encounter God in the midst of the beautiful liturgy that we enact here Sunday by Sunday, but this particular encounter was different.
It happened during the time when we as a parish enacted our faith in God’s merciful abundance by placing our pledges in the alms basket at the crossing. That’s what all good liturgy seeks to do, by the way—to be an outward and visible enactment of the faith that shapes and forms us as the people of God. When I went forward and placed my own family’s pledge in that basket, I was suddenly overcome with emotion, and this sense of being emotionally overcome stayed with me throughout the rest of the service.
Why would placing a paper form in a basket have such an effect on me?
It’s because for the first time in over two years, Kerry, Jacob and I have a church home. You see, during the first two years of my seminary education, we still considered ourselves to be members of Christ Church Parish, Pensacola, Florida. Prior to joining you here at St. Paul’s, we were itinerant wandering worshippers. Most mornings we would opt to attend Sunday services at Washington National Cathedral. Some mornings we would enjoy our last chances to drink coffee in bed and watch CBS Sunday Morning together. We believed throughout this time of wandering that Virginia Seminary was our worship community.
Now, though, through the simple act of placing a form in an alms basket, the Huals are at home in this community of faith. We have staked not only our time and talent here, but our treasure as well. And we have done so through the symbolic, liturgical gesture of physically giving that pledge to God as part of the Sunday Mass.
What a wonderful experience! I pray that many of you had similar experiences. What a gift and a joy it is to be part of your parish.