Sunday, January 27, 2008

Parish Meeting and further study

Today we had our Annual Parish Meeting at St Alban's. I'm sure not everyone will be happy (of course, not everyone was happy before the meeting either), but I think it was a good one. People were patient and seemed respectful of each other.

Someone suggested the Epistle for today would be a good text for ongoing reflection and study by the congregation. I think he particularly had in mind the first verse:

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions [Greek—schismata] among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

It is one thing to avoid divisions, but coming to one mind is the further goal. It will not happen overnight, and it will not happen if there is no attempt to come to one mind. Our parish purpose statement would seem to need that kind of unity as a part of fulfilling our goal:

"The purpose of Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church is to provide a joyous, loving, caring community of Christian worship and fellowship that makes Christ known through active response to the Gospel, for the spreading of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven."

In that respect, our Old Testament lesson is particularly poignant:

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)

The Gospel for today also relates to this theme of an inner turning toward God preceding an outward turning toward the world in mission:

"'The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.' From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.' As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him." (Matthew 4:16-20)

Some have tried to focus on mission as a way of avoiding coming to a common mind on basic beliefs. The problem is that the outer work becomes hollow if there is no inner strength of solidarity in the truth.


Courageous Grace said...

Oh, now I really really REALLY wish we could have gone....but alas, a 4 day old baby and my recovery made it a bit hard to make it to St. Alban's this week....


Cane Caldo said...

Hopefully people will keep on reading 1 Corinthians through chapter 6.

Courageous Grace said...

...I made the mistake of reading through the messages in that egroup....

I am disgusted enough by companies that put fliers on windshields in parking lots, but to find out that someone thought it was acceptable to complain about +Iker in a seven page letter and then put copies of it on every car in the parking lot during a church service really boils my blood.

Such inappropriate behavior....ugh. To clarify, I don't care what they think about +Iker, it's the violating people's cars that irks me.

Not to mention a HORRIBLE waste of paper :P

sanctus.liberalis said...

Anna and I will continue to pray for Bishop Iker, the parish, and of course our clergy. I started to read the e-group's messages, but I must say it was most disheartening and could not continue. The posts seemed outright hateful. I hope to get back to Saint Alban's soon.