Saturday, January 26, 2008

'Little Fishes"

This meditation ran in the last Diocesan Life. It is posted here because tomorrow we read Matthew's account of Jesus' call of Peter and Andrew, James and John. . .

Matthew 4: 19
Jesus said to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people."

I like to fish. When I prepare for an outing, I put on my lucky hat, make sure my Swiss army knife is in one of the many pockets of my fishing vest, pick up my tackle, and set out to buy minnows, little fish.

Did you know that in the 2nd century the newly baptized were called "little fishes"?

I wonder can we hear Jesus’ call "I will make you fish for people" if fish is not a verb? What if it is a noun! I know the Greek doesn’t support this. But stay with me.

Are we the fish, the bait, the lure? To bring others to knowledge of God’s love shown to us in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Minnows on the end of a fishing line are set in the mainstream to draw in other fish. They have to be lively and active. Called to be fish, we are to be the bait to attract other people. Christian witness builds up the body of Christ, the Church. What kind of a fish are you?

Lets think bigger. Minnows grow into sport fish. Remember God used a large fish and it changed the very direction of Jonah’s life and ministry. Simon Peter and Andrew were casting their nets to catch fish they would sell so people could eat. As fish God uses us as both bait and nourishment.

God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. God nourishes us so that we can help nourish others. When we mend a quarrel, or visit a shut-in – we are fish. When we offer words of kindness and encouragement or teach a child – we are fish. When we give and work for the spread of God’s kingdom– we are fish.

So act fishy!

2007 Annual Report in the Mail

Please let the Parish Office know if you do not receive a copy of the 2007 Annual Report.
Here's the Rector's letter. . .

Dear Friends in Christ,

By now, you’ve all heard about the switch from analog to digital television signals scheduled for February 18, 2009, when "rabbit ears" will no longer bring a picture to the screen. Many of us will have to upgrade our sets and the government is even offering $40 coupons to help. Isn’t the future both amazing and annoying? But sometimes the challenges and cost seem to outweigh the excitement and promise.

One of my sustaining verses from scripture is John 10:10b. It comes to mind when the washing machine breaks or there is too much month for my checkbook balance. It helps me put all in perspective and reminds me that Christ is my center. Some might say this is an extraordinarily optimistic view of life. To me it is resting in God and letting the Holy Spirit sustain me.

Jesus said to them ... "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

On Sunday, January 13, the Vestry had an extra meeting in order to complete an Asset Mapping exercise which asked us to consider the "half full" glass of our common life and ministry. We spent about 15 minutes writing each asset we could think of on index cards. There must have been over 100. A few were duplicates.
Then we moved around the table where those assets were laid out and put them into affinity groupings, or constellations of cards that suggested actions to us. I was amazed at how easy it was to do. There is a lot of good things happening here. Good people. With talents. And enthusiasms. One of our assets is this building. With plenty of good room to open it up to others.

Our first identified concern was to build and strengthen our fellowship. So we hope to reform the S.M.I.L.E.S. ministry. [That’s St. Margaret’s Inreach, Laughing and Eating Society]. We want to have some fun together.
We spoke about the hospitality of opening our fellowship and building to others. This led us to suggest that every time we plan or approach an event or activity or new ministry there is a priority question which needs to be asked. That question is "Who can we invite to join us?"

When we were done we had a list of four actions for the future, and this is what we saw. . .the table was still full of index cards with assets written on them. We had not exhausted the gifts and graces given to us.
We truly are living the abundant life offered by Christ.

Let us be thankful.
And move into God’s HD future by
practicing Hospitality and strengthening our own Discipleship.

The Rev. Canon Lexa H. Shallcross, Rector


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Spring in January

Spring in January

Intellectually, I know that today's warm temperatures did not set a new record. But didn't it feel wonderful.... in that Mae West "too much of a good thing is simply marvelous" way?
Did you shed your jacket?
Open the sunroof on your car?

Tonight, the sky was clear and the stars were bright.
I offered some thanks remembering this scripture we may recite at the beginning of evening prayer:

Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth. The Lord is his name. Amos 5:8

[Book of Common Prayer, p. 115]