Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
3745 Kimball Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38111
901 743 6421
holytrinitymemphis@yahoo.com

FROM THE DESK OF FATHER MOMBERG-VICAR OF HTEC
The article is taken from THE TRACT, November 2019 issue


 

 

From the Desk of Rev. Tom Momberg

 

 

 

 

STRANGERS NOW ARE FRIENDS:

WHY I GIVE TO HOLY TRINITY

 

Dear Friends:

 

            During the years my wife and I learned how to survive an unplanned, distance marriage, some things kept changing. For example, the number of days a month we saw each other. The times of day we talked. The kinds of things we made time to talk about.

 

            One thing didn't change during that season of separation. It hasn't changed since we met eighteen years ago. Together, and on our own, we keep finding God in some of the most unexpected people, places, and things we encounter! Since we met in a bit of a strange way, a way some might call a "God thing," we know how important it is to "get it" about strangers.

 

            "Think of the stranger as God," the women of Magdalene, part of the Thistle Farms organization, write in their devotional book Find Your Way Home. "Instead of saying, 'There but for the grace of God go I,' the women write, "we say, 'There goes God.' It reminds us of the truth that, in loving our neighbors, we are meeting God."

 

            In a day and age when fear and anger seem to have a stranglehold on our common discourse, we need our friends and neighbors, more than ever. In a culture filled with judgment and indifference, we need forgiveness and love, more than ever. Our friends at Thistle Farms have claimed for a long time that love is the most powerful force for change in the world. Love is certainly a force I've felt at Holy Trinity since I arrived in June.

 

            I’ve often heard you, my still-new Holy Trinity friends, express your gratitude for all God has given you, especially the love and care you have come to share with one another. It is the love you have for one another that has kept this little church going since its founding more than a century ago. It is that love that is obvious and palpable every Sunday.

 

            That's why I give to Holy Trinity. It's all about the love. It's not just because I needed to find something to do and to support in retirement. It's not just because I have been taught to give back to God a portion of what I have been given. It's because my life and my heart have been changed by love, time and again, and I do not ever want the flow of my gratitude to end.

 

            Be grateful for whoever comes, wrote the poet Rumi, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. As someone with several part-time jobs, but no single, full-time work obligation, I relish having the luxury of sharing my time, talent, and treasure with the people and things that matter most to me. Being your part-time Vicar allows me to share myself with other ministries and justice organizations that also give me hope.

 

            When I moved back to Memphis and into a new season of life, one I'm grateful is mostly funded by a pension and other earned benefits, I knew I wanted to review how I give away, in gratitude, part of my income. Before I began serving God with you, I decided to tithe my compensation from Holy Trinity back to this beloved congregation's ministry, in gratitude for the love I've experienced here. I will continue to do that in 2020. Not everyone can or will make the contribution I offer, but I believe I am called to do so.

 

            As a lifelong music lover, let me close with an image and a lyric. The people of Holy Trinity make my heart sing! Words from a hymn text by Brian Wren sums up my heart's song: The love that made us makes us one, and strangers now are friends.

 

            I thank God for your love and for your friendship. I am excited about the next part of our spiritual journey with Jesus. May we continue to listen to God’s call to us, while we find ways to express our gratitude each day.

 

Peace,

Tom+