Stanley Hauerwas, a contemporary theologian said this: “The work of Jesus was not a new set of ideals or principles for reforming or even revolutionizing society, but the establishment of a new community, a people that embodied forgiveness, sharing and self-sacrificing love in their lives. In that sense, the visible church is not to be the bearer of Christ’s message, but to be the message.” That also is the stated mission of St. Matthew’s parish – to continue the incarnating work of Christ.
We just celebrated All Saints Day remembering those who have left a name and whose stories we know like St. Simon & St. Jude, St. Mary & Martha, St. Peter, St. Matthew or St. John. But we also remember all the faithful departed whether they made a mark in the world or not; the saints who are known to God alone.
Each of us has prayerfully completed a ministry commitment form to help St. Matthew’s know where God is calling us to give our efforts of time and talent and how to best use our resources for the building up of God’s kingdom.
So we pray that we might live our lives as the “visible church” knowing that we are the message of Jesus in this time and place. And we remember those who have died because their faithful life and witness reminds us what it means to be baptized: to live our lives focused on God’s eternal presence.
At baptism we are given the seed of eternal life and we become a saint of God. Then we begin the journey of discipleship so that we may with God’s help have the strength to live as peacemakers, as pure and humble before God, as beloved children of God for that is what we are.
We are not trying to live into a new set of ideals or principles in order to reform or even revolutionize our society, rather we are called to be a Christ-centered community which embodies forgiveness, sharing and self-sacrificing love. We are called not to be the bearer of Christ’s message, but to be the message.
As the body of Christ gathered and formed by God into this community of faith called St. Matthew’s, we offer ourselves anew to God giving of ourselves and our resources for the work of God’s kingdom. See you Sunday, as we journey together toward the fulfillment of God’s plans. Mo Pat+