As my head hit my pillow on the Sunday evening of Easter, my mind and heart were extremely full of thoughts and emotions of joy and thankfulness. After I spent time in prayer, thanking the Lord for all He has done for me, I got up to write down some of my thoughts from the week that had just passed.
Although a few weeks have passed since we celebrated Easter Week, I still wanted to share with you some of the thoughts I composed on Easter evening. Some of the thoughts that caused my heart to be overflowing with joy and thankfulness.
I began by writing “Christ has Risen, He has Risen Indeed!”, as this statement sums up the very reason, I can have the joy and thankfulness that I experience everyday as a believer in Jesus Christ. The next word I wrote was “WOW – clergy”. This was in response to the incredible way our clergy led us through Holy Week, providing messages which were honest, passionate, inspirational, and challenging. They reminded us not to overlook the truth of Easter and to allow our lives to be impacted daily by the resurrection of Christ.
My third statement was “I am blessed, this is real”. I have gone home nearly every day since I started my position here at BBTS and have thought, or even said aloud to my family, “I cannot believe this is real, that I am a part of the Bethesda staff”. I am so incredibly honored to be a part of this incredible group of men and women who do more than their “jobs”, they truly desire to see the mission of Bethesda realized every day. Whether it is our outstanding Sextons, who nearly every day go above and beyond expectations, Dr. Forster, and his incredible choir, who provide us on a weekly basis with a glimpse into what the “Heavenly sound” will be like, etc., etc.
My final statement, and as they say, certainly not the least, was “the people of God”. In my life, I have been in churches of many denominations, with congregations of all sizes. I was ordained into ministry in 1993, and therefore, have served, and ministered, as a member of multiple church staffs. But with all sincerity I say that I cannot remember such a warm, welcoming, loving, caring, serving community as I have here at Bethesda-by-the-Sea. Whether it is the truly angelic members of the Flower Guild, the warm and friendly ushers and Ambassadors, the dedicated members of the Altar Guild, Vergers, Nursery, Children’s Ministries, Acolytes, Readers, etc., they must be recognized for their incredible service to the Lord and to Bethesda.
However, when I wrote the “people of God” I was thinking of ALL of you, the parish of Bethesda. YOU are the ones who are living out the mission of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, to “Love and Serve”. Bethesda would not be Bethesda without the amazing, amazing parish that we have, yes, ALL OF YOU! You made Holy Week, and every week, special not only for my family, but for thousands of families, and hundreds of thousands over the years!
I am truly, truly blessed to now be a part of this staff, this community, and this church. It is my sincere joy to be able to Love and Serve the Lord here at Bethesda, and YOU the parish and community of Bethesda-by-the-Sea.
This all inspired me so deeply, that we launched our “View from the Pew” series to allow everyone to join in on sharing their joy and thankfulness for the great people and ministries we have here at BBTS. Please take time to watch the videos each week, new videos come out each Friday, and be sure to comment and share your thoughts. We would also love for you to share the videos with friends and family members so that they too may know how special Bethesda is to all of us!
Blessings to you,
Joseph E. Sanelli