What a Powerful Sense of Belonging: A Reflection on Commitment Sunday
On November 2, at the 11:15 Mass, I had an unexpected encounter with the Divine. Of course, I always hope to encounter God in the midst of the beautiful liturgy that we enact here Sunday by Sunday, but this particular encounter was different.
Participating Fully in the Kingdom: A Theology of God’s Abundance
What makes the Christian church different from all other entities in the world is tied up in our understanding of what it means to be the church, not meaning the building or the Sunday services, but what it means for Christian people to be the church of Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which is a combination of two words: ek, which means “out,” and kaleo, which means “call,” so it literally means “the called out ones.” At the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus called his disciples out of their worldly pursuits and charged them to be His witnesses throughout the world. Jesus’s disciples in turn took the gospel, the good news of Jesus, to the ends of the known world, and people who heard the gospel and accepted that good news became disciples themselves.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me...”
It’s not always easy, but involving our children in the life of the parish is an essential part of their growth in Christ. In fact, a study by the Barna Group found that more than half of the people who believe in Christ will do so by the age of twelve, and by age thirteen most people have already formed their basic beliefs concerning the nature of God and the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Prior to this, by age nine, a child’s basic moral foundation has already been formed.
Who exactly are we at St. Paul’s parish? Now that is a question! It is the question the Search Committee has been asking as it articulates the parish profile in our search for a new rector. It is the question that we are each invited to ask if we are to give greater thanks for the divine life we experience together. It is the question that we must answer if we are to invite others to join us on our spiritual journey.
I hope this short note finds you well. I have been traveling frequently this summer for work and for refreshment, and I know many of you have as well. Thanks be to God for opportunities to relax and visit friends and family!
Many Episcopal churches choose a fall Sunday to (1) gather the community after the end of summer vacations, (2) put their best foot forward to visitors and newcomers, and (3) get members connected with new ministries.