I think that the TV show, Modern Family, is hilarious. In an episode of Modern Family last spring, the brainy daughter, Alex, was preparing to give a commencement speech to her classmates. Alex was preparing to give a rather academic and serious speech with lofty platitudes. However, Alex’s older and more social sister advised her that effective graduation speeches only need to include this one line: Let’s get this party started!
People of St. Alban’s: Let’s get this party started! Even though the temperatures are still soaring, the time for vacations, rest and relaxation is coming to a close. As August dawns, new signs of life are popping up all around St. Alban’s as we prepare for a new academic year, as we prepare to give thanks to God for everything.
Jesus himself certainly knew the value of celebration and thanksgiving. Jesus continually uses language about feasts and celebration and times of thanksgiving. Jesus knew how to get this party started by changing water into wine and by telling a story about two sons, the wayward son being welcomed home by a celebration that included a fatted calf on the BBQ grill.
In our daily lives, it is appropriate to set aside time to celebrate, to give thanks, to count our blessings. You will have an opportunity to reflect on gratitude and blessings at “Gratitude Gatherings” in late August and early September. These one-time gatherings will include 10-12 people, will meet in a variety of locations, and will enable you to get to know other folks here better. I expect everyone to be a part of a Gratitude Gathering, as we get this party started.
Also, at St. Alban’s, we now have almost twice as many people in our worshipping community than we did 5 years ago. It is now time to start new ministries to be involved in - and you are going to get them started. Men’s outreach ministries, at-home parishioner visitation teams, parent gatherings, Bible study groups, softball teams, women’s prayer groups: I don’t care what you start – let’s just get this party started!
In August, we will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate, to learn and to give thanks. We will conduct the Blessing of the Backpacks & Bookbags, backpacks for others will be stuffed with supplies, a new structure for Children & Youth Formation will commence, Bible study will resume, St. Awesome’s young adult community will have dinner together at the Abbott’s, the choir will re-gather for awesome music, Gratitude Gatherings will be organized, a Fajita Fiesta will welcome everyone home – and we will even learn about Old Chicks without Beards!
So, St. Alban’s, let’s get this party started!