Jesus' model of ministry is quite simple. God, the Word, "became flesh and dwelt among us." The word, "dwelt", literally means that Jesus "makes His home" with us.
After making His home with us here on earth, He prepares for His future ministry in relative silence, under the instruction and love of His Mother, the Virgin Mary, and Joseph, his foster father and caretaker.
Then Jesus, at age 30, is baptized and is driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. He fasts and prays for 40 days and 40 nights. After this, He chooses twelve men. He lives with them. He teaches them. Then He ordains and commissions them to go forth, with authority, to baptize, to teach and to heal.
Entire families are incorporated and ministered to by His Apostles and those whom they ordained. And so we see in the Scriptures that there are multitudes of men, women and children who are brought into a loving community that has found forgiveness of sin and new life.
Our hope as a parish is to begin a similar type of ministry. It is to engage our community with the truths of God's Word and to do so in a manner that is, at once, familiar and yet unfamiliar.
It is familiar because it involves families from the same neighborhood, who live and struggle, and laugh and mourn - together. Our children attend Quakertown Elementary. We shop at Giant and Aldi. We meet each other at the library and the pool.
It is unfamiliar because it involves growing in our understanding of God's Word, the Bible. Most of us are skilled and educated, but due to many factors, we have a lack of knowledge of the things of God. We also do not know how we ought to pray. Lastly, many of us lack the one ingredient that will help us to grow in life -- deep, lasting friendships. We lack community.
The Anglican offices of Morning and Evening Prayer help us to learn these things. They were meant to be used in a working community, where people may only have 15 minutes or so to "touch base" with God and with each other. But they also provide us with a daily rhythm of prayer and praise, of learning Scripture and of learning how to pray.
The Scriptures themselves were written in the context of a worshiping community -- the Church. This is why the Scriptures call the Church "the pillar and ground of truth." (I Tim 3:15) That ground, or foundation, is much like the foundation of our homes. It is set in line and plumb with the cornerstone, Who is Jesus. And the foundation stones are lined upon Him. And they are the Apostles. Throughout the ages, the Apostles, in turn, ordained Bishops, who, in turn, ordained other Bishops, down to our day. And they are entrusted with the ministry of bearing the Truth of Scripture and of the Gospel to the world. The people of God, along with the Bishops, are the pillars of the Truth. The roof of the building is the Scripture -- the Bible.
St. Paul wrote that "I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God." It is our desire to teach the Scriptures from cover to cover, verse by verse, filling in the blanks that our lives and happenstance have made. We wish to do so in the context of the worshiping community of all believers throughout time and space. The historical context of Scripture is 6000 years old. The worship forms of the Old Testament are given meaning and transformed into the worship of the New Testament and for 2000 years they have been handed down to us today. Our beliefs reflect our worship and are rooted in our liturgy.
The final ingredient is the home. Small Christian community begins in the home. Worship begins there as well. When a family observes the seasons of fasting and feasting -- the sights, the smells, the sounds, the tastes -- in the home, the Scripture comes alive for them. When a family prays together, they are bound together in love for God and for their neighbor. When a family serves together, they become a living picture of the Trinity at work in the world. They truly live their life "in Christ." This extends out to home groups meeting in the neighborhood to pray, praise and study the Scripture.
We invite you to enter into community with us, explore the depths of the Scriptures and learn what a life of prayer, praise and love can do for a neighborhood such as ours.