When I don’t pay attention, or just assume they will just happen, I miss out on the daily affirmations. When I’m paying attention, they become very apparent: in the morning, I head to the sink after my wife and find toothpaste already on my toothbrush, laid out for me. Just when I need it: an encouraging text. My favorite snack, bought on a grocery store run without my asking. These and a thousand other little things are affirmations of my wife’s love for me.
Next week, on three occasions, I will gather with clergy across the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN) for a service of reaffirmation of our clergy vows. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite services of the year. We are blessed in ECMN to have a very strong cadre of competent, caring clergy. I strive throughout the year to be encouraging and supportive of their endless and dedicated service. The service of reaffirmation is an opportunity to take a moment to express both my gratitude and for us collectively to recommit to the service we have been called to.
Likewise, one of the things I appreciate most about the opportunity to serve as your Bishop is to be a part of confirmations, receptions and reaffirmations. From the Baptismal Covenant through the last person who comes forward for the laying on of hands, there is always a strong sense of the Holy in our midst.
This coming Sunday, we will begin the holiest week of the year. It is an incredible opportunity to walk in the way of Jesus — and in doing so to reaffirm our relationship with Him. From Hosanna to Alleluia — and all the trials and challenges in between — each step is a chance to move from assumption to affirmation.
That is my prayer for all of us as we approach Holy Week: that we will be intentional about moving from assumption to affirmation in all of our relationships: with those closest to us, with our colleagues and co-workers, and with neighbors and strangers alike.