All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island, SC
April 20, 2005
As the years went by there was the suggestion, again by a villager, that what was needed was a boathouse to protect the rescue boats. Built near the shore for quick response, the boathouse was substantial and beautiful. A room was added for the community to gather for meetings and in time the boats were pushed closer together to make room for tables and chairs.
In time the boathouse became not only a boathouse but also a place for the community to gather. Years and years later, there came a time when the village wrestled with the idea of removing some rescue boats to accommodate the needs of the village. The lookouts for stormy weather were more difficult to recruit, rescues were more infrequent and it was noted that in the past, rescues in stormy weather were inherently dangerous.
Just last year, not one person in the village could remember why the rescue boats were in the boathouse. Children played in them, but the boats hadn't been used in years.
This morning I spoke with the Right Reverend John B. Lipscomb, and I was impressed with a point he made to me - that once "saved", the Church is forever in the "business" of saving lives through Jesus Christ. That whatever language we use to describe our coming together in the name of Jesus Christ, we are fundamentally about restoring and saving lives.
That is not language I often use, nor is it language that has formed me as a Christian, but Bishop Lipscomb's statement is nevertheless true. There is a fundamental reason why there is an Episcopal Church, among many churches, at the north end of Hilton Head Island. Christ is the reason. What we do with that fundamental truth is what we have been working on for almost 20 years. It is our vision about our relationship with Christ, as a community, that continues to define who we are and why we do what we do in the name of Christ.
Obviously, that Scottish village lost sight of why they needed lookouts, a boathouse and even rescue boats. As it turned out, the storms in the winter came every year, and so did ships in distress, and sailors who needed rescuing. At one time it was a great idea for a group of people to come together and risk their lives for others in peril. In risking their lives, they gained everything; their lives were fundamentally blessed by their actions. How do you keep that vision alive?
A prayer in support of our vision for this parish....O gracious God, we give you grateful thanks for our ability to see with the eyes of faith, to dream with hearts that embrace the future, to live together in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the wisdom to know that all things are sustained by your inexhaustible grace. As you claim this parish as your own, give us the wisdom to see your hand at work in the world about us, and may your hand be ever present through the lives of those who gather here, in the name of Christ. AMEN.
to top of page ...
If there is no navigation bar present at the left of the screen, click here.