Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works.    - from this Sunday's Opening Collect

How do you decide what the right thing to do is?  How do you prioritize your life?  What is most important to you?  Why do you make the choices that you make?  What do you want to make sure you leave some time for today? This week? This year?

And - how often do you stop and ask yourself questions like these?

Life can tend to sweep us down a swift river, and we can spend quite a lot of time and energy just reacting to whatever boulder, rapid water or obstacle comes barreling toward us sometimes.  But it important to intentionally step out of those swift rivers whenever we can to consider the choices available to us, rather than just letting life make all our choices for us as we bob helplessly along.  A life of continual reactivity is very different than a life lived with intention.  It makes all the difference when you intentionally find a way to grab on to the  "life that really is life."  

With the many demands and time constraints we have, sometimes it seems hard to find the time and space for slowing down and being more intentional.  I love the opening collect this Sunday, because it is a petition to surround ourselves with God's grace - both before and after us - so that we can follow God's path rather than just being swept away by the world's many swift rivers.

I hope that this week you will take some intentional time to sit down and prayerfully consider how you intend to serve and follow Jesus in your life and ministry in the year ahead.  What are your faith priorities?  How does St. James fit into and support those priorities?  How can you intentionally give of yourself and your resources in the coming year in order to strengthen our common bonds of ministry at St. James?  How do you want to offer your whole self at the altar this Commitment Sunday?

Please take some prayerful time to consider both what you intend to give as your 2018 financial pledge and what kind of service you hope to offer at or through St. James - whether that is service within our church or out in our wider community.  And then fill out your intention card.  I hope you can take part in our single service this Sunday at 9AM to offer your intentions at the altar and then celebrate our combined commitment together at a potluck brunch following the service.  If you are unable to come to church on the 15th, you can pop your intention card into the mail so that we can fully complete our pledge drive in a couple of weeks.

I have been excited by the energy and vision expressed in our many church-wide conversations, and I look forward to seeing what unfolds among us in 2018, as we walk in the light of God's grace before and after us.

St James is a church of people who worship God, follow the gospel of Jesus, love and connect with each other, and serve the most vulnerable members of our community. 

We don’t hide from the hard stuff.

Yours in Christ,

Our readings for this Sunday are HERE.  Note that during ordinary time, we are using the readings from "Track 2"