Apr 20, 2020 | Clergy Corner

It seems to me that the word aspirational is becoming a new catch phrase. We hear it used
most often these days in the context of setting a goal or reaching an objective. We aspire to
have sufficient COVID-19 tests and PPP gear available for every one who needs them, so that
we can face and beat this life altering pandemic. One online thesaurus I checked offered these
synonyms for the word aspirational— eagerness, yearning, endeavor, craving, ambition,
intention, and my favorite of them all, hankering. We all have a hankering to get back to
normal daily life. The timing of my arrival as your interim rector has put me at a distinct
disadvantage because I didn’t get a sufficient chance to know what normal daily life looked like
at St. Paul’s before social distancing, online worship, formation, and meetings. I am yearning
to walk with you in normal times, or at least, in the new normal times. I look forward to better
circumstances under which to gain your trust, learn about your hopes and dreams for this
ministry, and help you prepare for the arrival of St. Paul’s next Rector. Despite my arrival time
disadvantage, my intention is to listen, pray, and be faithful as I aspire to be and do what I am
called to be and do as your interim rector, no matter what the circumstances.

I think the word aspirational is a very fitting theological way describe our identity and mission
as disciples of Jesus. We aspire to be and to do what we are called to be and to do as
members of the body of Christ. We are called to be a people of faith and hope. We are called
to rejoice always! We are called to pray without ceasing. We are called to suffer for the sake of
the gospel. We are called to understand death as a gateway to changed life, not ended life. We
are called to work for justice and peace, and respect the dignity of every human being. We are
called to love our neighbor. We are called to put our whole trust in God’s grace and love. We
are called to continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship and in the breaking of the bread.
I don’t know about you, but doing all of that is an aspirational goal for me. I intend to do these
things, I am hankering to do them, but my sins, my human frailty, my doubts, my lack of faith,
my fears, often get in the way. As to the breaking of the bread, at least for a while, the
COVID-19 virus is preventing us from celebrating the Eucharist together.

During these challenging times, we are endeavoring to offer worship and ministry opportunities
that feed our souls and bodies. Our most recent objective is to offer a live-stream Sunday
Morning Prayer service at 10:30. This is an aspirational goal, and if all goes well, it will begin on
April 26. This Sunday we are offering Children’s Sunday school and Adult Christian Formation
at 9:30 a.m. and Morning prayer via Zoom at 10:30. Please join us.

One of my favorite scripture passages was written by our patron St. Paul in his Letter to the
Philippians. Paul was an aspirational disciple, a pretty successful one, but one who struggled
as we do. He writes: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing
of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection
from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this, or have already reached the goal; but I
press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” God bless you. Be
safe. Be calm. Be kind to one another. I know we all yearning to see each other soon, and we


Ray Hanna
Interim Rector