Views From the Pews – January 14, 2024

Brother’s & Sisters,

January is the season for Congregational Meetings.  It is the time for each congregation to review its activities over the previous year, and to lay out its plans for the current year.  Business meetings of this nature can sometimes be difficult, for it is never easy for people to take a critical look at themselves.  Everyone should feel free to participate in the meeting, but a simple rule of engagement is that members should be generous in their praise, and gentle in their criticism.  One should never be afraid to speak the truth as one perceives it, but the scripture commands that truth must be spoken in love. 

Our meeting is carried out in the wider context of the Diocese, so it is important to keep in mind that we aim to be, as our vision statement declares, “A spiritually vibrant Church rooted in the Apostolic Faith and inspired by God to nurture communities and transform the nations we serve.”   We must not fail to ask ourselves the question, “Is this vision being fulfilled in our performance, and are our plans assisting in the process?”  Our project is far larger than keeping our members happy, as important as that is; it requires that we stretch out our hands to embrace the communities around us and the nation as a whole.  This is tough, but the call of Jesus is a call to take up the cross and follow Him, and we must be ready to do so.  Cross-bearing is never convenient, but it is a non-negotiable part of our call.

Beyond the boundaries of our congregation, our Cure, and our Diocese, lies the greater vision of the Kingdom of God.  The followers of Jesus were taught to pray daily, “Thy Kingdom come!”  We frequently lament the state of our country, its economic woes, its divisiveness, the prevalence of violence in so many forms, the breakdown of morals and values.  We are kept informed by the media about a similar state of affairs in the wider world.  We are inclined to think, “What can our little congregations do to contribute to changing the world? 

Let us pray earnestly that we may understand the immeasurable greatness of God’s power for us who believe.  Let us commit ourselves to undertake our many tasks with the assurance that God’s grace is sufficient for us.  Let us pledge to work together in love and unity to remove every obstacle that would hinder the growth of the kingdom.  Finally, remember that love is God’s way, so let us be guided by the words of St John of the Cross, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”