Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. - Luke 18:1
As we move through October as a parish, we come to the annual time in which we, once again, focus on God's call to us as a parish and make an appeal for resources (both time and money) to enable St. Edward's to fulfill that calling: The Fall Pledge Campaign. This is no mere exercise in strategic planning, nor is it a PBS-like fund-raising appeal (we don't even have thank-you gifts!), but rather, at its best, it is a careful and prayerful discernment of the realities of ministry in our mission context (West San Jose) and who God is calling us to be and what God is calling us to do within that context.
We have already articulated a four-fold mission: Welcome all. Worship fully. Witness to God's grace. Walk the way of Christ. That has been discerned by the Vestry and affirmed by the congregation. Now that big question: How exactly to we live that mission out?
The disciples were no strangers to discouragement. Over and over again, Jesus turned their world upside-down and shattered their expectations about what following Jesus should be like. Jesus refused to be limited by people's preconceptions (and misconceptions) about what being a Christ-follower should entail. The passage quoted above is a part of the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday. It is a reminder to us, yet again, that we do not accomplish the ministry to which God has called us in isolation. In fact, mistakenly believing that we can do things on our own causes us to "lose heart"--to lose the drive and the passion to do the work that God has given us to do. The solution? Pray always. Remind ourselves that rather that being cast into the world to fend for ourselves, we are instead full partners with God in the work of God in the world.
I don't know about you, but I find that I am frequently disheartened these days. The world is a mess, the economy is only sluggishly improving, and people are hardly flocking to churches in droves. It is a difficult time in which to live, and even more difficult to live out one's Christian faith authentically--there is so much to distract and dishearten! Yet God's call to us is undiminished in either its applicability or its urgency--and we are made to respond to that call, and to do so joyfully!
So as we as a parish refine and recommit to our calling from God, I invite members and friends of St. Edward's to consider you own involvement in, and financial support of, God's mission and ministry in this place. Please pray always as we anticipate together what God would have us do in partnership with God.