[A short homily at our beginning-the-year Vestry Eucharist, Mark 1:29-39]
gospel continues to tell the story of people who hang out with Jesus
but don’t really know Jesus. Only the demons seem to know who Jesus really is.
And they’re scared he’ll destroy them. And 2,000 years later it's still true: You can hang out with Jesus
without knowing Jesus. That’s true for folks on Sunday, it’s true for
Vestry members, and (God knows) it can be true for priests.
of my prayers for each Vestry I serve is that someone would be able to
say at the end of the 3 years on Vestry: that experience, that service,
helped me see Jesus.
It’s easy not to see Jesus. You don’t need
a Vestry for that. And God knows that having a Vestry doesn’t bring any
guarantees. But it does bring the opportunity. It’s the opportunity
for a committed community of leaders to come apart from time to time, to
bring themselves, their souls and bodies, and ask the question that
takes time and honesty: Jesus, where are you in all of this?
Mark’s gospel is meant to remind us: our inability to see Jesus does not indicate his absence.
is alive and present to the world, to St Christopher’s by-the-Sea, and
even to vestries. It’s easy not to see Jesus. Anyone can do it. But
what would it take for you to say of your time on the Vestry, “It helped
me see Jesus?” (Don't laugh. I think it can happen, and it's my
prayer for this Vestry - and for you.)
What I’m asking about is
the kind of commitment that you believe can shape us as a community of
leaders to grow closer to Christ.
What are you personally willing to commit to this group of leaders, so that we can see Jesus?
I want to share with you 3 beginning commitments that I believe will help this Vestry see Jesus up-close:
first commitment is represented by the number 53. The average
Episcopalian comes to church 48% of the time. Come 53%. Most months,
it’s the difference between coming to church two Sundays a month instead
of one. (If you come more, don’t do less - be exceptional!) But it’s
simply the honest to goodness truth that you cannot see Jesus through the Vestry without
participating in the life of the worshiping community that the Vestry
was made to serve. 53.
The second commitment is represent by
the number 7. This is the number of days each week that I hope each of
us will remember this parish and one another in prayer. Even if it’s
just for two minutes a day. This will help you see Jesus because your
prayers will open me and your vestry members to the work of the Spirit.
Your prayers will make the rest of us stronger to serve. This
commitment is the greatest gift you can give your fellow leaders. 7.
third commitment is represented by the number 1. If you will find one
small group of believers within this faith community to commit yourself
to, you will see Jesus in the way they care for you. Maybe this is a
Cursillo small group or the wisdom group, the Wednesday night prayer
group, the praise band, or maybe you just need to grab a couple of
friends and set a time. But do it. 1.
53. 7. And 1. These
three things will help you see Jesus through your time on the Vestry.
(They will "prime" you to see Jesus. Get it?) And just as powerfully,
these three things will help the congregation see Jesus in us.
for next time: What other commitments do you hope we as Vestry members
make to this church and one another that will help this experience be
what we pray it will be?