Earlier this week, I was meeting with Lorena Thompson Thompson our Director of Children’s Ministries and she mentioned this expression in Spanish: “Brilla por su ausencia.” The translation literally is, “shines by your absence,” and it caught my ear and my imagination.
There have been a number of moments when I have become aware of a person’s absence in a group or crowd. The easiest example of this was during seminary at the 8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer worship service. Being creatures of habit most people sat in the same pew or the same spot in the chapel. Timbre and tone of voices heard around me daily became a source of continuity and familiarity. When someone was not in chapel, I noticed the lack of their voice rising up in song and praise during the service. Somehow there was a sense of our worship together being diminished.
At St. Alban’s, each of us makes our own contribution to the vibrancy of this community. We all bring our own gifts and talents, voice, ideas, wisdom and vitality all of which contribute to the swell of praise and worship, ministry and outreach, learning and education that happens on this holy hill.
But, brilla por su ausencia: shining are those who are absent from our parish family…those who now worship in other churches in the area or who have moved away. I wonder what would happen if we reached out to them and told them about all of the good new things that are springing forth now at St. Alban’s? When we are absent from worship: “I’m taking a Sunday off,” or, “We had something more important to do that morning,” or from any other facet of the community, we as a whole are diminished.
True fact: we all have busy lives (or I’ve not yet run into someone who doesn’t feel busy with his or her own life these days). Making the choice to be a part of the life of our church, and church to be a part of our lives is important. That choice to spend a couple of hours with us in worship and education on Sunday, or to be involved in any of the many ministries present here that help the community, the nation, the world, or those that help us to grow in our faith as followers of Jesus Christ should have as much weight given to it as soccer practice, or any of the other activities that fill up our lives.
When we are active participants in our faith, and we find those things which enliven us and enrich us personally, we only add to the joy that is present and runs through St. Alban’s. With our presence and participation we add to the body of Christ alive at St. Alban’s making our community more rich, more full, more alive for the glory of God.
I wonder what would happen if we told our friends and those people with whom we enjoy spending time about the things we are involved with and what we love about St. Alban’s, AND THEN INVITED THEM TO COME AND CHECK IT OUT FOR THEMSELVES….what do you think might happen?
In the name of Christ who invites us all,
This is a good and important Cup. Thank you Matthew. I want to mention as well, that sometimes absence is inadvertent, being caused by sickness or injury. As you suggest, a quick and simple call or email can encourage the absent one to affirm their eventual return to the fold.
A smiley note from this old college professor… There is no such thing as a “true fact.” It may be true, or it may be a fact, but the two words are mutually exclusive. Facts are always true or they aren’t facts. Don’t get me started on almost or very unique. A thing is or it isn’t unique. -TATE