Hope is everywhere for us: An update from Bishop Shaw at Christmas

12/20/2013:  Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE sent the following update to clergy and parish and diocesan leadership today.

 My Sisters and Brothers,

As most of you know, two weeks ago today I had brain surgery and, again, I want to thank all of you for your prayers, your notes, e-mails, letters and phone calls over the past two weeks.  Your prayerful support means the world to me, and I have such gratitude for all of you in the diocese, my family, my community, our staff, friends in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion and, of course, the extraordinary nurses and doctors of Dana Farber and Brigham and Women's hospitals in Boston who have provided me with such good care, especially Dr. Patrick Wen, oncologist, and his assistant (and a member of St. Anne's-in-the-Fields Church in Lincoln) Sandra Ruland; Dr. Brian Alexander, radiologist; Dr. Ian Dunn, surgeon, and his assistant, Seth Santos.

As with the first surgery last May, Dr. Dunn removed cancer, although it was a much smaller tumor this time. All the medical people, while they recognize the seriousness of the cancer, are hopeful concerning the size of growth and the possibility for treatment in the future.  As the medical team reported this to me yesterday, I was filled with gratitude for the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of our community and specifically for all you have done as the people of God over these past few weeks.

As you can imagine, the last couple of weeks in recuperation have allowed me more media exposure during the holiday season than I usually have time to absorb.  While, like many of you, I am amused by some of the positive stories and cheered by the generosity of many people during this season, what I am most aware of is how nothing is left untouched by the birth of the Son of God, and how our experience of the living God lies beyond human reality. 

The good cheer, the gifts, the concern we should have for one another do not begin to touch the vastness of the reality of the living God.  In God's entrance into time in our Lord Jesus Christ, all of life has been transformed.  Through this birth event in human history, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, hope is everywhere for us.  Nothing is left untouched and nothing is beyond the possibility of being understood.

Let's go ahead with the good cheer, the parties, the fun of the Christmas season, and let them be an invitation from God to experience the hugeness of the love of God.  Know of my prayer for all of you and my gratitude. Continue to pray for me.

The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE