Dear Family of St John’s

This past weekend was one of celebrating milestones in my family. We had two milestone birthdays (I’m not mentioning the numbers!) a week apart and decided to celebrate both in separate parties on the same weekend. Three gatherings within 24 hours. It was wonderful! And a little crazy. And, quite exhausting, in a good way!

A part of this milestone weekend is that my eyes were opened to changes and growth in the people around me. This started when I arrived home on Thursday afternoon last week, expecting to get busy with icing cakes and putting up décor for the Friday night party.

And then, down the passage walked my eldest son, all the way from Potchefstroom. ‘Hello, mom’, he said, oh so casually. It only took me a split second before I launched myself at him for the biggest hug ever. He’d conspired with my mother-in-law and booked flights to PE months ago. He’d roped in his brother the week before, to fetch him from the airport. My husband wasn’t even part of the plan. Needless to say, I had a lot of questions about all the lies/omissions that had happened over the previous months!

I haven’t seen him in person since May. And the changes are remarkable. The most obvious difference is that he’s lost a lot of weight. I’m not surprised by this considering that I know what he cooks! But, apart from the physical difference, is the change I see in how he’s grown up.

This is something I also thought about as we celebrated my siblings’ milestone birthdays. I thought back to our childhoods and what they were like as children, as teenagers. I thought about all the changes over the years. I celebrate these changes, and the changes to come.

I was also reminded that as they have changed, my role in these relationships needs to change. I don’t have to be the ‘big sister’ all the time. I’m not too sure how my role as mom adjusts, I’m struggling with that a little more. Any advice is appreciated – how do I ‘mom’ adult sons?

We see growth and acknowledge certain milestones in birthdays and our various achievements. Do we acknowledge this growth in our spiritual lives?

I’m not saying that we should make a big fanfare, but looking back and acknowledging how far we have grown in our faith is encouraging. I think it’s a helpful and good exercise. It’s an uplifting exercise. And, possibly also one that calls us to be accountable if we’ve been stagnating, sitting in our comfort zone.

There are many passages of scripture that talk about our growth. We are told that we need to grow in the fruit that we bear, in our faith, in spiritual maturity. Look at these words from the letter to the Hebrews.

“12 …though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5: 12-14)

This passage should prompt us to do a bit of reflection. Have we graduated from milk and moved on to solid food? If the answer is yes, well that’s a milestone in our faith journey that should be encouraging. If the answer is no, then perhaps we need to reevaluate what we can do to graduate to ‘solid food’.

Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a very good time to evaluate where we are, to make changes that need making. It’s also a good time to celebrate how far we have come, through God’s grace and mercy.

Let us celebrate the milestones, be encouraged, and challenged by them as we continue to grow in spiritual maturity.

With love
Your friend and rector