On Tuesday morning, I had a vision of the Lord God Almighty transforming our congregation. I was listening to a prayer podcast, Pray As You Go (done by the Jesuits in England – highly recommended!). The reading was Mark 6:53-56, right after Jesus walks on water. Jesus and the disciples land ashore, and immediately the people recognize Jesus. Seeing him, they dash about, gathering their sick and bringing them to him, “imploring him that they might just touch the fringe of his cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.”(v. 56) The vision I received is an image of us lifting up our hands to Jesus, whose robe fills our sanctuary, asking Jesus that we may touch his cloak and be restored. And Jesus, seeing our hands uplifted, lets the train of his robe fall upon us, and reaches out to us, to lift us up to healing and joy and new life.
Every time I speak about what is happening at St. George’s with others – friends, family, clergy colleagues – they see immediately how powerfully Jesus is working in our midst. They are amazed by what Jesus is doing among us. They are amazed at the various things we are trying, and amazed that we are working together to open our hearts and open our imaginations – and amazed that we’re willing to try! You may feel that I am the one doing all of this, or that the Wardens and I are doing it, or it’s Parish Council leading the way – but what is changing here at St. George’s isn’t simply the work of some people. What’s happening goes way beyond what some people can do. It is the work of the Holy Spirit working in our midst, opening us to one another and to what Jesus is doing here.
A year ago, you could have said “no” to our revitalization. You could have said, “no, we’ve tried everything before, and we’re not willing to try again.” You could have said, “We’re not ready to welcome anyone new until we move into our new building.” You could have said, “these refugees are too much work.” You could have balled your hands into fists, crossed your arms and turned away. But you didn’t. You lifted up your hands to Jesus, and were ready to receive new life, a new mission and ministry. You opened your spirits, and were ready to believe that Jesus might indeed still offer healing and purpose to St. George’s. And the truth is: Jesus has remarkable dreams for North East Calgary, and Jesus is giving us an opportunity to be part of what he’s doing. Together, we have lifted up our hands to Jesus, and Jesus in return has been at work lifting us into joy and new life, and a new role in his mission here. Praise be to God for all that he is doing within us! And praise be to God for your faithful, willing, ready hearts.