If you’ve been around the Parish of the Epiphany for a while, you have heard us talk about it, pray about, and work toward growth. If you’ve heard the word growth and thought about increasing numbers of people at church, you’ve heard correctly—but only partially.
Growth has been part of our mission strategy at the Parish of the Epiphany because, to put it simply, we can’t afford to be a small congregation in a large building in an expensive location. But, we mean so much more by growth.
As people who believe that we are spiritual as well as physical beings, we realize that if we’re not growing, we’re actually dying. That’s the way of living beings. It’s also one of the underlying things we have in common with one another. The next time you’re in church, look around at your sisters and brothers. They’re there for the same reason you are; we all want to grow. Of course, not everyone would immediately agree about that. It’s equally human to come to worship—into what we hope will be the presence of God—for something like peace, or comfort, or healing. But we see from history, from experience, and certainly from the Biblical story, that God works with our motives. You may come for one reason and end up being pushed, or pulled, or inspired into growing.
In the next several weeks almost everything we’ll encounter on Sunday mornings will focus on growing. Behind us is the Great 50 Days of Easter, culminating with the Day of Pentecost, and yesterday’s celebration of the Trinity, and now, the long weeks of what is sometimes known as “ordinary time”—officially it’s the Season after Pentecost, and it continues until December 2nd.
An invitation to grow will come each Sunday through music, Bible readings, sermons, and yes, through conversations over punch in the Cloister Garden.
The gospel record of Jesus is far more than a well-guarded treasury of ancient wisdom. For us, especially when we gather at worship, the Jesus record is a living force. It’s filled with larger ideas.
I suppose if you pressed me to describe some kind of edge to Jesus’s interaction with his own people during his lifetime, I’d probably say he thought their idea of God had become too small. What if Jesus, the living Word, is saying the same thing of us? God, the lover of the world, continually challenges us to grow, and we have an entire lifetime in which to do it! The Parish of the Epiphany grows because step by step, we accept the growth God wants for us—with all the adventure and change that comes with it.
A blessed ordinary time to you: I hope there’s nothing remotely ordinary about our growth.
Faithfully in Christ,