This Is The Church.
As many of you know, before God called me to this new mission, I spent eight wonderful years working in parish ministry. One of my very favorite parts of that job was leading Vacation Bible School for children from our churches and the broader community. This is the first June in many years that I am not serving as the director of VBS, but I’m glad to be back as a volunteer, spending my week playing and praying with these amazing children and families. And, wow, it is good for my soul.
You see, these days I spend most of my time learning, writing, and talking about the worst of the Church - the darkness, ugliness, and corruption that lurks in the shadows. It’s easy to get caught up in all of that, to forget that there is also so much light, beauty, and holiness in this broken, wounded Church.
But today, I watched my former colleagues pouring themselves out for the families they serve, pushing through exhaustion but still radiating joy. I listened to a faithful young priest sharing his love of God with a group of captivated children. I noticed enthusiastic volunteers showering love (and patience!) on the sweet little ones in their care. I witnessed teenagers who were once young participants now stepping up as kind, confident helpers. I saw children laughing, learning, dancing, and playing - safe, loved, and simply bursting with joy.
At the end of camp today, hundreds of children, teens, and adults gathered to worship the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. We sang and prayed and spent just a few moments in silence with the God of the universe. We gave our hearts to Jesus and committed ourselves to following Him. We were immersed in the love of our merciful Father.
Friends, there is so much good in this Church. So much beauty. So much joy and truth and love.
This is the Church. Let’s not forget that.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.