The Elizabethan is a monthly update of parish and ministry happenings. Any items for the newsletter should be sent by the fourth Friday of the month to the church office email address: email@example.com.
To read the entire September 2018 newsletter click on this link >> Elizabethan 9-18
From Fr. John: Being spiritual vessels in the world
“Send us now into the world in peace,” we pray near the end of our Eucharist. Or “…send us out to do the work you have given us to do…” This prayer marks a transition in the Mass that gives us the name of the ritual: “mass” comes from the Latin missa, which means “a sending.”
Two months ago, we talked about the congregational role of hospitality as God gathers people to a church. We described Alice Mann’s four stages of gathering hospitality: Invite, greet, orient and incorporate. And last month we covered the life of the church supported by practices that translate and those that transform. This month, we examine the role of missio — of sending.
The pattern of the unique and primary purpose of a congregation matches the pattern of the Mass itself: we gather, we practice, we go “our several ways,” as we sang in a Mass recently. Just so, God gathers us, we practice and then God sends us out . This happens repeatedly as we become and share God’s loving presence in creation, coming to fill ourselves with God’s presence and love, and going out to empty ourselves over and over and over.
In the community of the church, God renews us and fills us with insights, love and inspiration and then meets us out in the world, so that we can be instruments of God’s loving presence for our friends and family, for neighbors and coworkers, even for complete strangers. The church, Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple once said, is the only institution that exists for people who are not its members.
And so, at the end of each Mass, the priest sends the congregation out to engage their daily lives. Each life differs in detail, but the mission is the same. Christ has fed us so that we may be food for others. We return to our work-life, our civic life and our family and friends. We go back into those relationships, communities, roles and occupations that are already a part of our lives. Once there, we serve Christ by serving each other.
Read more of Father John’s essay in the newsletter >> Elizabethan 9-18
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- August: Elizabethan 8-18
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