(Note from Christine: I swear that I did not pay Nate to say this!)
Beloved in Christ,
I (Nate) have always had one rule: do whatever Christine Lee says, whenever she says it, as soon as she says it. That’s not for no reason. Christine walks closely in step with the Holy Spirit, and has great spiritual intuition. So, when she approached me with the idea for this collaborative project for our two parishes, I was already predisposed to say: “yes.” Once I heard what the project was, it was that much more clear this was something God was calling us to do.
We find ourselves in an extraordinary moment in the history of our world. We are, quite literally, living in history--a moment we will look back on for lifetimes to come. Everything has been turned upside down. The loss has been staggering. Grief, anxiety and despair are high. We walk the streets of our beloved city, mourning what once was. We wonder: What will become of it? What will become of...us?
And yet, by some miracle of grace, this moment has also brought strange gifts: connection, compassion, courage, creativity, sacrifice, service, laughter. So here we stand, holding two impossibilities side by side. Joy, sorrow, gifts, loss, community, isolation, need and gratitude, all converging upon us at the same time.
What are we called to do in a moment like this? When we look back on this moment, how will we hope to have lived through it? Since the beginning of the church, followers of Jesus have gathered at times like this to pray. No matter what was happening in their world--whether persecution, wars, plagues, social and political unrest--prayer has helped the people of God orient themselves to the one who is seated on the throne of the universe.
And so, in these ten days between Ascension and Pentecost, we will come before God and pray. In fact, we will return to the central prayer of the Christian faith, the prayer our Lord taught us to pray. Every week, when we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we are acknowledging that God’s kingdom has come in Jesus but not yet in its fullness. And so we wait and pray and love and act in this in-between time of the already not yet of God’s kingdom.
Both All Angels' and St. Peter’s Chelsea are committed to God’s dream for the world--to make all things new in Christ. We pray with that hope for our city, our loved ones, for the church and for the world. May God give us the grace to be the answer to our prayers, that the gospel would go forth in power through our lives and through the Church of Jesus Christ.
Christine & Nate
The Rev. Christine Lee. The Rev. Nathaniel Jung-Chul Lee
Priest-in-Charge, St. Peter's Chelsea Rector, All Angels' Church