A good and godly spiritual father of mine passed this morning. The thoughts and good wishes of so many of his spiritual children have been flooding the internet already, and I wish to add my remembrances to the growing chorus.
My parents and I met Pastor James M. Riccitelli at a moment of deep spiritual crisis, when the church that we had been attending gave my parents an ultimatum that drove them out of the fellowship. It was unfortunately not a new experience for us. I was in college at the time, and by then, my family and I had been a part of not less than 10 different churches. But this loss felt different than the others. I remember that I had a key to this church because I had become a member of her, not merely adhering to my parent’s wishes. When it was clear that we were not going to be able to go back, I looked with weariness toward the next fellowship of believers in Christ. What would they be like? Would we be welcome with all our brokenness and failed dreams?
I am re-posting this excellent article from my boss, The Rev. Todd Miller, Rector of Trinity Parish in Newton Centre. It is based on a sermon he preached shortly after the Presidential Election of 2016, after which so many were struck with fear over the possible uprising of old hatreds.
In the Episcopal Church’s Catechism, the stated mission of the Church “is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ (The Book of Common Prayer, p 855). In Eucharistic Prayer A – the form of the Eucharistic prayers used most often at Trinity – we give thanks to God that God “sent Jesus Christ… to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all” (BCP, p 362).
Our Christian faith is about “restoring all people to unity with God and each other in Christ;” we Christians, following the example of Jesus, are called to be agents of reconciliation. Our country, sharply divided over the recent election and in transition to a new administration, is counting on us Christians to live into our identity and to be agents of reconciliation. Continue reading