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Love Notes to a Neighbor

Love Notes to a Neighbor

On Sunday morning, I did my best to help us see the Trinity not as an abstract notion that seems only to confound us. Instead, I offered (I hope!) a vision of the Trinity that informs how we live into the beauty and the fullness of God’s grace and love being shared with us each and everyday. At the heart of the Trinity is the commitment to loving relationship within God’s self which then informs our own understanding of loving relationship between humanity and all that surrounds us. The Trinity invites us to live our lives according to the ideal of God while leaving the relativity of one to another behind. We are invited to practice relationship in an analogous way since we are not able to practice relationship exactly as God practices relationship within God’s self. 

This morning, I began my day with a meeting that happens every year at the end of the school year. Andrea Stewart and Carol Dalton and I found ourselves on Google’s version of Zoom with the principal and vice principal of Thew Elementary School reviewing the year that has passed and asking questions about the partnership between Thew and Epiphany. We take some time to look at the things that are working and the things that did not work nearly as well as we had hoped. 

In the course of the conversation, it is inevitable that we will stumble into another good idea that might be good for us to try on in the next academic year as we continue to grow in relationship with one another. We share laughs and excitement about what is happening as our relationship grows and as new opportunities present themselves for us to grow closer together as co-workers in this corner of God’s vineyard. 

But this morning, I was completely taken aback at one thing that I learned because we had this year-in-review conversation. I found myself holding back tears of joy as I listened to the impact that one part of our ministry at Thew Elementary is having. It is easy to think that the place we have the most impact is also the place where we spend the most money. In the case of Thew, you would be absolutely wrong. Instead, the place we are having the most impact in the lives of the teachers of Thew is the part of our ministry that is probably the cheapest to do and the easiest to deliver. 

Mr. Maruca shared with us that the letters we deliver every single month to teachers are the thing that have helped their teachers continue to hold their heads high as they strive to educate our children for the future. Teachers took the notes they received from their Epiphany pen-pals and hung them on their bulletin boards. Some teachers wrote back to our parishioners expressing their thanks. Mr. Maruca told us that he did not have the words to describe the difference our notes to teachers made in his school over the past academic year. 

The most impactful gift we have to share is the one thing that we get for nothing: the love of God. The love of the Trinity that flows out from God’s self into that which is not God. In short, it is proof that when we love God, neighbor, and self, we will change the world. 

P.S. – Are you interested in getting involved with our partnership with Thew Elementary? Send a note to office@epiphanytempe.org and we’ll get you connected to Andrea and Carol, or you can join the Serve Council for their next meeting!