They Finished the Race

Friends,

Some of you may recall that I was elected at the last General Conference of the United Methodist Church to serve on the Judicial Council of the church as first clergy alternate for 2012 – 2016. The Judicial Council is the Supreme Court of our denomination, ruling on matters of church law. We met in Baltimore and when the meeting was over Susan and I came to Washington, DC. While here, we got to spend time with some of our members who live and work in DC: Paul Driskell, Sarah Whitton, and Mary Katherine Vigness Clarke and her husband Robbie. The connections we have with such friends is a real gift that we treasure.

Wednesday morning Susan and I had the opportunity to visit Arlington National Cemetery. We visited the grave of John F. Kennedy and meditated on the significance of the beautiful symbolism of the eternal flame. We visited the tomb of the unknown soldier and were deeply moved by the solemnity of that place and the dignity and reverence of the guard. We looked out upon the thousands of graves of those service men and women and their spouses who gave so much of themselves and often their very lives in service. Once again, with gratitude I thought of the ways in which we are connected to one another and to those who have gone before us.

This Sunday is All Saints’ Sunday. We will remember with gratitude those members of our congregation who have died and who have made such a difference in the lives of many. We will celebrate that we are all connected to one another in what the church through the ages has called the Communion of Saints. We will hear and prayerfully consider the words of 2 Timothy 4:7-8 as we think about their lives and the living of our own lives: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Grace and Peace,

Tim

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