A Message from Our Recently Retired Rector, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Lee Jose

Beloved St. Thomas’,

It has been a month-plus a few days since we last shared Holy Communion on June 26th, our glorious leave taking Sunday. And we will not get to share a common table this week either, although I will have all of you close in my heart as my retirement officially begins with the stroke of midnight tomorrow.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the fact that the word tomorrow is not found in our Book of Common Prayer. ‘Yesterday’ occurs twice; ‘today’ 15 times; there’s no ‘tomorrow’. And in our lives, as well, tomorrow competes for our attention with yesterday and today. Yet so much of who we are depends on how our tomorrow fits with today.

I wouldn’t be writing to you this day if it weren’t for a lot of yesterdays that got us here, a history as priest and community who explored together some of the little and big mysteries that come to light as we worshipped in common prayer. The past will determine who we have been, and are, and may still be to one another—priest and congregation, our common faith seeking richer understanding of the difference we made, together.

I’m wagering, however, that the most important thing we share is not our past, but what is yet to come— our tomorrows, which will intertwine in ways that only God can today imagine. Tomorrow is the winnowing fork of yesterday and today; it tosses them up in the air, and only what matters falls out to remain, all else blowing away with the wind. Past tradition and present experience matter only if they pass the test of tomorrow.

Tomorrow nurtured by Common Prayer and participation in Holy Communion is a miracle waiting to happen. It’s neither a repetition of the past, nor an escape from the responsibilities of today, but an open door, a blank-page, calling us to knock and live, serve and commit, all that we are and all that we have.

Tomorrow emerges from yesterday’s worship as the place where all we’ve done and dreamed together, thought together, spoken about together, means something beyond our imagining at the time. We feed and drink at Christ’s table where the gifts of God for the people of God refresh us, empower us, to love and serve God in one another in a world of need.

And that’s where I am confident we will meet again, where what is significant in God’s sight about your tomorrow bumps into what is significant in Gods’ sight about mine. And, by the grace of God, we may for a moment recall all the days we’ve spent in conversation — in person, by email, and telephone, and letter — about the words with which we worship and serve God. And they will have a significance that only tomorrow knows today. As always, thank you St. Thomas’ Parish.

God’s love and mine,
Nancy Lee+

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