In the gospel appointed for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany Jesus calls his disciples “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” In my first two weeks, as your Associate Rector I have witnessed the ways in which St. Peter’s has been a beacon of light and hope in our city. I have learned of your rich history of being a parish of radical welcome and justice for the most vulnerable in our society, and the ways in which our parish in continuing this gospel work. Again, and again I have heard of the ways in which various parishioners are modeling hope in the context of our society’s fear and anxiety.
Theologian Walter Brueggemann has shared three ways in which the Church can continue to practice hope and model hope for our larger society: through truth telling, through shaping public attitudes and policies, and through acting out an alternative way of being in the world. Dr. Brueggemann contends that Christians can act out an alternative way of being in the world by practicing hospitality, generosity, and forgiveness. This alternative way of being will not be easy in a climate of fear and anxiety, but it is the way of Jesus.
I am thankful for Walter Brueggemann and his words which will guide me as I seek to be more like our Lord. Most of all, I am grateful for St. Peter’s. For decades, this parish has witnessed to and acted out an alternative way of being in the world. St. Peter’s continues to be a place of hospitality, generosity, and forgiveness. I am thankful that I can learn from your example as I serve among you as pastor and priest.
May God give us all the grace and courage to practice hope and to be salt and light in our world.
The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Associate Rector