What moments have defined your life? What are the central, core experiences and people who have shaped you into who you are? When was it that you just knew an encounter to be the touch of God?

In this week’s Old Testament text, we learn that in the midst of the Midian Desert, with its hostile crags, its interminable silences, and its blistering sun, God encountered Moses. Standing before the burning bush, the divine voice told him to remove his sandals as a sign of the holy moment.

Have you ever stood in the midst of a holy moment, and you were called to do a holy task?

Moses was filled with awe and hid his face. God had seen the oppression of the Israelites, and was summoning Moses to deliver them from slavery, and to lead them into freedom and a new homeland.

No person, people, church, or rector, is strong enough or good enough to receive and respond to these holy moments, these defining encounters. But they come anyway. They come to you and to me. And one of those defining moments came to the Rev. James Harlan over ten years ago — when he said “yes” to become the Rector of Bethesda-by-the-Sea. For nearly a decade of living, James (and Eli) and the people of our parish had defining moments together.

This coming Sunday, March 20, at 5:00 p.m. in the Guild Room, we will have another defining moment with James and Eli Harlan: We will gather to dedicate James’ portrait. All are invited and a reception follows.

Bob Dannals
Interim Rector