Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Clergy Corner

Remembering Our Legacy

  • The Rev. Bob Dannals
  • Feb 01, 2018
  • Category: General
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Agatha Christie was once part of one of those conversations about Great People Who Have Changed My Life. She offered this surprising reminiscence: I can’t recall her name, but I remember that she was short and spare and I can still see her eager jutting chin. Quite unexpectedly one day (in the middle, I think, of an arithmetic lesson), she suddenly launched forth on a speech on life and religion.

“‘All of you,’ she said, ‘every one of you — will pass through a time when you will face challenges. If you never face change and set-back, you will never have faced, or become, a Christian, or known a Christian life. To be a Christian you must face and accept the life that Christ faced and lived. You must enjoy things as he enjoyed things; be as happy as he was at the marriage at Cana, know the peace and happiness that it means to be in harmony with God and with God’s will. But you must also know, as he did, what it means to be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, to feel that all of your friends have left you, that those you love and trust are not always trustworthy, and that God’s loving presence is the most real thing in life. Hold on to that presence, trust in God’s love, look out to the future with hope. If you love, you will feel some pain, and if you do not love, you will not know the meaning of your life.’ “

“She then returned to the problems of compound interest with her usual vigour, but it is odd that those few words, more than any sermon I have ever heard, remain with me, and these many, many years later they come back to me and give me hope.”

Parish churches are communities of remembrance and influence. Through the course of your upbringing it is quite possible that several adults will have a great shaping power on you — beginning at baptism and coursing all the way to adulthood. I still remember Miss Hazel Whitley teaching me the Bible, and Dr. Cooper leading my confirmation instruction, and Mrs. Phifer inviting the young teens to ask important theological questions. In my service as an acolyte, I experienced the sacraments “up close and personal,” and when I reached high school the diocese offered events where I experienced living in Christian community.

What do you remember? Who have been the shaping influences in your life? I dare say that many countless people at Holy Innocents’ could recount the special people and circumstances that deepened faith and shaped character. And we continue that legacy week by week as we await the calling of a new rector.

Thanks be to God!

Bob Dannals

Comments (1)

Tony Clarke on Feb 4, 2018 12:35pm

Yes! Countless people have also been a positive influence on me yesterday and today.

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