"To know Christ and to make him known..."
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.”
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.”
“so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.”
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”
This week’s lessons really fall into line with the message from our Annual Meeting on February 3rd. We will worship God this Sunday at the 8:00 Rite I Holy Eucharist, the 10:00 Rite II Holy Eucharist, and the 5:30 Taizé service. We offer a variety of ways to give praise to God at St. John’s. We also offer many ways to sing praise to God. Alex and our choir have prepared beautiful music from the hymnal, LEVAS, our praise book, and Taizé chants.
In our bible study class we are studying Revelation. “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) Perhaps this is one of the most important things that we must do in our lives. Please pray deeply on these words of scripture and worship our God in the beauty of holiness.
Each of us is gifted by the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. We have a purpose in life, and we are given the gifts to accomplish that purpose. God’s steadfast love is always flowing in our direction and we are asked to follow scripture to stay on this path. “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will thank you because I am marvelously made; your works are wonderful, and I know it well. (Psalm 139:12-13)
When we love God with all our heart, soul and mind everything starts to fall in line in our lives. Life is not made easy, but there is a peace that instills a deep sense of gratitude in our hearts. When we express that love back to our neighbors, people are drawn into the love of God. Let me give a few examples. You come into the St. John’s kitchen before the service and prepare breakfast for everyone that comes to the parish hall after service. A parishioner remembers the name of a newcomer and greets them by name. Someone else invites this newcomer to come to breakfast and sits with them. These simple acts can change a person’s life. As members of the Jesus Movement, we show our love of God and neighbor by our actions. We believe that, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” (1Cor. 15:3-4) We do not have to stand at the mall and hand out the theology of the Episcopal Church in a pamphlet as we yell, “Jesus died for your sins” in their ear. We just need to love as we are loved.
If we are to be “fishers of people” we must begin by deepening our own faith. Only by an authentic faith in God will we ever convince anyone to come to the Lord in this crazy post truth culture that we live in. We do not use scripture to explain the way we are and exclude others. We should find that when we have a deep faith, scripture rings true in our heart. Please keep a few of these scriptures highlighted in your bible, written in your journal, or just commit them to memory. The bible keeps us focused on some basic truths such as: God created us, God loves us, we should give glory to God, and when we share God’s steadfast love, others will follow.
In Christ’s love
(The Chalice, February 10, 2019)