On Saturday evening, October 11, Galveston's Trinity Church gathered for a fellowship meal for the first time since Hurricane Ike slammed into our lives. Gay prepared a big pot of her famous cajun red beans and rice. Several folks brought cornbread, salad, brownies, and cookies. The ice chests on our spacious verandah were loaded with cold beverages. But the true feast was in the reunion of our people who had been longing to see the faces of their sisters and brothers in Christ during the past month in which we have been scattered due to the evacuation.
The joy and liveliness of the fellowship were moving! The stories of how lives have been changed were amazing! The sharing of experiences, understanding, and compassion were healing! I sensed a powerful spiritual bond among us as we shared in Devotions for Early Evening from the Book of Common Prayer, concluding with the beautiful prayer,
Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is
past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and
awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in
Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake
of your love. Amen.
The impact of seeing familiar faces within the community of faith reminds me of the sentiments expressed in Charles Wesley's hymn, "And Are We Yet Alive?" Although it first appeared in 1749, it could have been composed last week for our gathering.
And are we yet alive,
And see each other’s face?
Glory and thanks to Jesus give
For His almighty grace!
Preserved by power divine
To full salvation here,
Again in Jesus’ praise we join
And in His sight appear.
What troubles have we seen,
What mighty conflicts past,
Fightings without, and fears within,
Since we assembled last!
Yet out of all the Lord
Hath brought us by His love;
And still He doth His help afford,
And hides our life above.
Then let us make our boast
Of His redeeming power,
Which saves us to the uttermost,
Till we can sin no more.
Let us take up the cross
Till we the crown obtain,
And gladly reckon all things loss
So we may Jesus gain.
We are all seeking normalcy during the resurrection of our lives on this island. They tell us that eventually we will discover a "new normalcy." Times of worship and fellowship help, even though we will not be able to return to our sanctuary for several weeks. We have been worshiping at St. George's Church in Texas City and are grateful for their hospitality. Beginning Sunday, October 19, we will worship at 9:00 a.m. in the Chapel of The William Temple Episcopal Center, 5th and Market, in Galveston.
Our next gathering for fellowship will be Saturday, October 25, from 4:00 until 7:00 in the evening at our home, 3017 Avenue O in Galveston.