The View from Bolton Street

What’s your ‘Top Ten List’? 


Last week a friend challenged me to name my top ten movies from 1996. This was one of many ‘online’ challenges that  roll around from time to time to generate actual conversation on social media instead of just arguing for the sake of arguing. Now, in 1996 I was a freshman in High School, so this was a combination of awkward first date memories and movies I saw hundreds of times at High School sleepovers.  When I accepted the ‘challenge’ I fully expected to pick certain movies yet when it came down to actually choosing, my list was quite different, and included movies that reminded me of my parents, my grandparents, and the excitement of re-watching some of these movies years later when Monica and I first met. 


Often the things we think are the most important are not in fact the most important. 


So this week, I challenge all of you to think about your ‘Top Ten List’ for Memorial. What are the things you love about this place. The things that keep you coming back? The memories that kept you here or make you long for Memorial when you are far away? 


On my list? 


Being presented the ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ by the children of Memorial at my installation 

Walking the Via Dolorosa of our Parish and Communities History of Racism on Good Friday with Jesus and all of you 

Seeing the Holy Spirit come alive through the creative energies of all of our artisans and actors

Going on Retreat with our vestry

And Celebrating Weddings, Baptisms, and Funerals — the full cycle of the Christian life — with people I hold very, very dear. 

Among many others!


I ask because it is possible that when you sit down to think about it the things that you thought would be the most important perhaps are not! And it is more than likely the things that did stick with you are the moments and memories that you felt connected to God, that you felt in relationship with Jesus, enveloped by the Holy Spirit. And those are the moments we should seek to share with others, and re-create for our friends and neighbors to experience. 


Now one of the movies on my Top Ten list was ‘Jerry Maguire’ - which has three significant lines for Parish Ministry: 


The First - “you think we are fighting, and I think we are finally talking!” - Sometimes we hear and see things differently, and if we carry an attitude of grace and forgiveness with us, we can easily overcome a lot of otherwsie difficult situations. 


The Second - “Show me the money!” - which, speaking frankly, is a pretty effective Stewardship message! Not because the Church should be greedy!  But because when the need is great (as we see in Ellicott City this week) sometimes we just have to ‘show the money’. Which is why we are taking a special collection this weekend for those seeking to rebuild again. 


The Third line? — “Who is coming with me!” - The evangelical message of the Church.  We don’t know quite what we are doing! We aren’t sure we can make it! But we know God is with us and we really want you to come along for the ride!  


So... Who is coming with you? 


As we continue to tell the story of Memorial Episcopal Church as a Jesus-Centered, Justice-Focused Community, I hope that you will draw on your own ‘Top Ten’ list to invite new members into our community, and help them craft their own journey of faith as they get to know themselves, us, Memorial and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ a bit better.