Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-- BCP, page 215

This Sunday's Texts

Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111;
1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

The annual meeting of the congregation is this Sunday.

It is very important that a significant portion of the active membership be present to elect four new vestry members, receive written reports, and have a conversation around the highlights and challenges of the past year, as well as the opportunities that lie before us this year.

The annual meeting is a moment of both empowerment and mutual accountability.

It is a moment of empowerment because the membership elects one-third of the Vestry. Our church board has its authority from the people who empower them to act on their behalf for the glory of God. You make church happen.
It is a moment of mutual accountability because the congregation receives written and oral reports about the state of the parish, its finances, facilities, ministries, and programs. We, together, call one another to service.

I want to repeat this statement that I wrote last week: "Emmanuel exists to change lives."

Each facet of our common life is ordered for the purpose of changing lives. Not just the preaching. Teaching, fellowship, outreach, the very building that we use: everything is in the service of changing our lives more and more into the likeness of Jesus.

The question, of course, is: How well are we doing that?

I have to confess that I cannot imagine any way of producing metrics on that! And on any given day, we may not discern any significant change in ourselves, much less in the life of someone else. However, the annual meeting helps us gauge our progress in terms of the relative health of our ministries, programs, and priorities.

Ultimately, how well we are fulfilling our purpose is known only to God. But we can see how the activities, events, and choices that we make about our common life are meeting their particular objectives and we can learn what else we need to be doing.

Our presence is needed to have the mutual empowerment and accountability that makes us healthier and more faithful. I ask you to come to the annual meeting this Sunday at noon, immediately following the 10:30 service. The Vestry is bringing lunch and the Nursery is open to take care of the young ones.

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in Emmanuel Church, Harrisonburg, for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- BCP, page 818

Under the Mercy,

Fr. Daniel+