Last Sunday I discussed with our congregation all of the changes that have taken place in the last several years. We have had two new roofs, a new outdoor sign, bathroom, refrigerator, furnace, water heater, new chairs, air conditioner and the list goes on. But, what I should have emphasized and asked was what has changed in their hearts. Do they have a deeper understanding of Jesus and his message. In their hearts, do they feel closer to God. Have they developed stronger relationships with the people in their lives. Have they become more giving and more accepting of others.
It is nice to have a warm place for worship in the winter and a cooler place in the summer. It is a good thing to have comfortable chairs and a bathroom that is larger than a small closet. But, things and creature comforts has never been what Christianity is about. Jesus outlined for us in Matthew chapter 25 what his followers should do. Christians feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, and visit the sick and imprisoned. We are people of faith. We are practicing Christianity.
I received a letter the other day asking me to contribute to a well known Episcopal organization called Episcopal Relief and Development. The first paragraph of the letter reminded me that Christians are the hands and feet of Christ. It is good to be reminded that we are here to live out our faith by continuing with Christ's mission of feeding, clothing, welcoming and visiting. By practicing our faith we experience the peace and joy that comes with a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Father Fred Steinbach
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church