The other day I ventured out to visit three of our parishioners who are not feeling too well. Carefully tucked in my shirt pocket was a pyx which contained consecrated wafers, Holy Communion, which I was to share with our homebound friends. This is what we do when we visit those who cannot be with us on the weekends to share in our Eucharistic feast. We talk, we pray, share Holy Communion, talk some more, laugh and smile and say our goodbyes. I hope and pray that these visits strengthen both body and spirit. To be quite frank: I receive so much strength and blessings from these visits. I feel like one of Jesus’ disciples, going out bringing the Good News of Christ. What greater joy could there be? What an honor: to do the thing I like and to receive such joy in the process.
Each visit, each individual I spent time with were undertaking their own unique and personal “spiritual journey.” In their struggles and in their human discomfort and pain, they continue to seek that which they truly believe will bring them healing and joy, strength and consolation. They know where and to whom they are to go . . . they ask for and they seek Jesus and I am more than happy to share Him with my friends. Ministry . . . it is a job but, oh, so much more.
I returned back to the church and back to the computer work I had started before I ventured out to visit our homebound parishioners when my cell phone rang. An individual had called inquiring about St. Nicholas and the Episcopal Church. Many questions were asked and I answered to the best of my ability. I shared stories and encounters of faith and worship that we’ve experienced here. More questions followed along with each of us sharing of our own personal journeys of faith and belief. The caller plans on visiting, very soon, and feels that the Episcopal Church and St. Nicholas may be a “good fit.” I gave assurance that a warm welcome will be provided and that such a welcome comes from our hearts; as this is just who we are: a very warm and welcoming people of God. Also, I encouraged and suggested to take time and examine our community and the Church in general, to see if this is a “good fit.”
Certainly, I would never dissuade any one from being a part of this community of faith. However, choosing a church is not like purchasing a pair of shoes. True, both have to fit but unlike shoes, a church is something that we grow into, become part of and it, the church grows within us, too. After an hour phone conversation, I offered the caller a blessing and again welcomed any and all to come, see and experience St. Nicholas for themselves and see how we fit them and they fit this church.
It is our calling; this is our mandate as Jesus has required of us: to be disciples to the world and to bring the Good News to others. Sometimes, evangelization and growing the church is just a phone call away, or a short drive to three homebound parishioners. Ministry . . . it is a job but oh, so much more. And what happiness and joy I do receive from this “job” that blesses me so.