Proclaiming and Explaining the Work of the Church and Inviting People to Invest in the Kingdom
Over the past seven or eight months, many of you have stood up here and told stories about how St. Mark’s has been demonstrating that even in this very imperfect world we can show people how to live in the Kingdom of God, what it’s like to be doing the work of the Kingdom, being servants of Christ the Servant. Every story was different, but every story was true and meaningful and heartwarming. Listening to the stories I was struck time and again by the enthusiasm shown by our people.
But after the events of this past week and looking ahead with real fear for what is to come, I have a hard time with enthusiasm. And in trying to figure out what to say today I’ve come to conclude that “enthusiasm” is not the right word nor is it what we need. Enthusiasm brings an emotional high; but it is transient; it is ephemeral, and it’s hard to maintain in the face of unrelenting attacks.
But the stories we tell are still true. The faith we hold is still sustaining. Our work is still there. And I realized that what I was seeing and hearing in these stories was not enthusiasm, although sometimes we are enthusiastic, but it is dedication. Dedication to proclaim and explain and, yes, do the Work of the Church. Dedication to work through the obstacles, work through the bad times, work through the good times, work through the times that just drain our enthusiasm. By our stories we know that we are a dedicated people, supported by our faith, knowing that our work is just and good, and that we are being the Kingdom of God to the world.
And so we tell those stories because especially now, when our enthusiasm is near rock bottom. Because now, now we have a lot of work to do. Some of it is serving work, but a lot of it is healing work. One thing that the Council decided this week was to give an even higher priority to our work on the Reconciling in Christ process. Because a major part of that is learning how to welcome and affirm to people who may be different than we are and who we may not always agree with. Also, next year we will be emphasizing our outreach to our neighbors welcoming them, listening to their concerns, and enlisting them as well in the work of the Kingdom – whether they call it that or not.
We are a dedicated group. We are a faithful group. Now we need to re-dedicate our time, our skills, and, yes, our money and invest them in building the Kingdom. The importance of this has never been clearer. The need for this has never been greater.
You’ve got your dedication cards today. Take them home. Prayerfully consider all the things that we do and can do and need to do. Consider your commitment of time, money, and skills. They are all important. Then commit, dedicate. We need every single one of you.
- Dean Winter