For the past several weeks, ever since we heard of another shooting at a high school in Texas, I have begun our worship with the assertion that, “this is the place to be.” This worship, this congregation is the place to be because in this place we are committed to building a better world and better lives. We are determined to push back against the darkness that is looming over our world. Our goal is to leave worship inspired so that our every breath, our every step, our every word, our every interaction, our working and our playing will all be an expression of our dream that On earth as in heaven, all are welcome, all are fed, and all are loved.
Christianity has survived and thrived for 2000 years because it works. Following Jesus leads to better lives and a better world. One of the challenges we face today is that our understanding of discipleship, of following Jesus, has been diminished to the point where people compare a good walk in the woods, or a game of golf to the value of worship and knowing Christ. If we are just going to church because that is what is expected, the comparison is probably appropriate. Following Jesus can build better lives, but it is not magical or automatic. Better lives are built when we engage together in the spiritual disciplines and practices of Jesus and the apostles.
The mission of St. Dunstan’s Church expresses this clearly: Inspired by our worship together we follow Jesus by welcoming the stranger, feeding hungry bodies and spirits, giving of ourselves, and inviting others to join us in this journey of faith. In this statement we see our commitment to the practices of worship and following Jesus. We follow Jesus through hospitality (welcoming the stranger), through feeding people who are hungry in their stomachs, in their minds, and in their hearts. We follow Jesus by giving of ourselves, whether through our outreach ministries, our fellowship, our offering of pastoral care, or our hosting of homeless encampments. We follow Jesus by inviting others to enjoy this way of living in loving, supportive community. This is the place to be.
Yours in Christ,