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Friday, November 28, 2014

A Verger's Thanksgiving

by Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager

The Rev. Ned Bowersox celebrated the Thanksgiving Eucharist at St. Richard's in central Texas. His sermon was memorable for the 28 who braved our 65 degree weather (clear skies and no breeze). We gave thanks and prayed for a long list of our neighbors, partook of bread and wine and re-set our perspective on what it means to be thankful. And that one can realize just how to be thankful.

I noticed only a couple of rarely seen faces among the reverently faithful. When Ned began to speak, I could see that he was reaching the congregation. You've noticed this phenomenon too I expect. All eyes followed him as he stood in the middle of the transept, conversationally clearing out any "faith cobwebs" we brought to church.

He referred to the story of the 10 lepers mentioned in Luke 17:11-19, the day's Gospel reading, by describing the context of life as a leper in those days. He said that if you were deemed a leper, you needed a sort of verger to escort you to the leper colony, and that only the priests were sanctioned to validate your release from the leper colony. I wasn't exactly nodding off, but I did try to listen more closely after he mentioned vergers. What came next is easy to understand, easy to remember and maybe a little hard for us to practice

Ned told us that he suffers from a condition called "forgetfulness." He said, "This condition causes me to pay more attention to who I am than to whose I am. Like the leper who thanked Jesus and was healed, we can thank God for making us his children and giving us everlasting life. When we give thanks for Jesus having died for our sins, we can begin to live a life that acknowledges we belong to him and to no one else."

After the dismissal, I was clearing the credence table and I noticed that the congregation was still in the nave sharing the peace of the Lord with Ned and with each other. This went on for at least fifteen minutes. I heard them talking about the concept of thanking God for his having healed all of us for all time, and living into that constantly thankful notion.

Could all present have suddenly and universally "gotten it?" Would we go out and start practicing the fundamental truth that thanksgiving for whose we are is more than just one day of prayer? Can we just remember that thanksgiving is an every day way of life? Interesting how a simple phrase turned upon itself can change our lives.

Abstract:  Thanksgiving morning many vergers were supporting a 10 AM service. Thanksgiving is .... What is it really? How can we be better at knowing the real meaning of Jesus' healing our souls, and being thankful for just that, and nothing else? How much attention should we give to who we are? Today's Verger's Voice condenses a very important sermon preached on November 27th to answer these questions.

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