Colleen Beery shared recently a ritual of gathering stones from the places we go on travels during the summer. In the fall, we all bring together our own individual stones and varied waters to the altar, and we create something natural and beautiful.
When I watch how FCC San Rafael moves within its community, I think of the passage from the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes – For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.
As I write this I am celebrating the first day of our Pilgrim Park Summer Camp, where we had fourteen children and counting. The children come from a variety of places—India, Mexico, El Salvador, Korea, the United States, Africa. Gathered together they create something beautiful and new. We learn so much from watching their enthusiasm, creativity, friendships, inquisitive natures, laughter, and smarts. When we gather them together with the teachers and the volunteers, the parents and the church members, the beauty grows as I see each express his or her individual gifts and in turn bless the other.
We gather each Sunday as a congregation and then go out to work collaboratively with the REST Shelter Dinners and Homeward Bound, the Marin Interfaith Council and Pilgrim Park, the Marin County Food Bank and Ritter Center. We break bread together with other churches in an Multicultural Food Fair and then send supplies to Every Dollar Feeds Kids in Cuernavaca, Mexico. I see our stones gathering together and then casting away again in an ever-widening web that expands and contracts like the ripples from many stones dropped into a pond at once. We bless and are blessed continuously.
At our first Youth Event this summer, Lynn Grant spoke to the youth about how good it felt to break bread with the homeless women at the REST Shelter Dinner, and how she was inspired in her work by the scripture, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). She spoke of how we find Jesus in each other when we serve.
Indeed, the more we gather our stones together in different circles, the more we find Jesus in each other. When we begin to see God in all things, we know we are on the right path.
This month I am remembering how I came to FCC San Rafael for the first time one year ago. As I have spent time with you and served with you, moving through so many of the circles, it has been a blessing to see God in so many places. I look forward to seeing you all when we gather our stones together on August 23, so that we might share where we have seen God on our journeys.