Let us begin
King of Peace's first public event. 16 people attended Questioning Your Faith at the Rec Center in September of 2000, when it ended 8 weeks later, more than twice as many were present.
On his death bed, Saint Francis of Assisi told the gathered members of his Orders of Friars Minor,
Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord our God for up to now we have made little or no progress.I quoted this before in a sermon Let Us Begin as King of Peace entered its fourth year. We had just completed reading through the lectionary and so in three years of worship we had read through most of the Bible. We read that day from Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians, the earliest Christian writing. On this, my final day after a decade at King of Peace, those words come back to me. I finished that sermon referring to Francis and Paul,
Even though they had made much progress, there was room for improvement. The same is true for us. Each of us, no matter where we are on our own spiritual journey, has room to grow. If you don’t think you have much room to grow in your knowledge and love of God, that is the surest sign that you do have progress to be made. Francis understood this. That’s why he could look back and say that they had made little progress by the ends of his days. But, rather than being filled with despair by this, I can imagine the Francis who could write so eloquently about joy, could feel joy at the challenge of room for growth.The full text of that sermon is online here: Let Us Begin.
King of Peace has seen a lot of growth in the three years since we first started the lectionary cycle of readings. We have grown from 30 that first Sunday to have had as many as 107 in worship. We have grown in awareness in our community as King of Peace has become well known, especially considering the size and age of us as a church. A 7,900-sq. ft. building has taken shape out back and will soon be home to us, the church. We have seen lives transformed by the power of the Gospel we preach and the sacraments we celebrate. We have rejoiced together over births, in more than 20 baptisms at weddings and numerous meals. We have mourned together in the wake of the tragedy of 9-11 and more personal tragedies of deaths within our families.
Yet, with all the things God has done and is doing in our midst, it is not the time to get a big head or to rest on our laurels. Compared to all that God has done for us. Compared to all God has in store for us, we have but just begun.
There is so much more room to increase and abound in love for one another. There is vast room for change as God strengthens our hearts through our common worship and in our daily lives. Now is not the time to feel that we have arrived. Now is the time to feel that we have so far to go, and to see the joy in that realization.
Let us begin, sisters and brothers, to serve the Lord our God for up to now we have made little or no progress.
We have progressed much in this decade, but God will always have more for us. One day, King of Peace will look back on this past decade and it will be not of the congregation's best time, but of its beginnings, which enabled even greater things later. I give thanks to have been used by God for this time. I also give thanks that greater days lie ahead.
Closing Out Irenic Thoughts
This blog (which also posts to Facebook) is nearly finished. I have shared Irenic Thoughts for more than six years and am thankful for the ministry. I will close it out with my religion column for this Friday's Tribune & Georgian. Thanks for reading. It's been a great journey together!
The Rev. Frank Logue, Founding Rector
King of Peace Episcopal Church
King of Peace on Easter 2010 with more than 200 in a single worship service and more than 300 total for Easter.
Labels: Francis of Assisi