“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”Mark 16:15 NRSV
Over the last month (can you believe that it has nearly been a month?!) our parish has been learning anew what it looks like for us to be disciples of Christ Jesus. In a parish that has prized the beauty of gathering together in the same location for our worship and prayers, we have had moments of grief and of grace as we have traveled a road that has challenged us to learn new things along the way. From figuring out how to host worship in online spaces to creating online Bible studies to remembering that older technologies like phone calls are still important and necessary. We have been in a constant process of learning, renewing, and building fresh expressions of our ministries in our parish in order to respond to the moment that is in front of us.
On Saturday, the Church honors the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. We honor the person that put down the first written account of the story of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, and in the celebration of the feast we have the option of reading either the opening story of Mark’s narrative or of reading the last story of Mark’s narrative. In both stories, we receive a story about the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The opening line of the Gospel according to Mark reads, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1 NRSV) The second option for the gospel reading for Mark’s feast day begins with the opening, “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15 NRSV) In both of these stories, we hear the words “the good news.” Today, we are invited to figure out how we follow in the footsteps of the saints that have gone before us in proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus. We are the ones to whom it has been left to share this good news with “the whole creation.”
We are invited to build upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets that have been proclaiming this good news well before us, and we are invited to figure out how to do so within the age of a new pandemic that is sweeping the globe. Here, I want to invite you to find how you can be engaged in the ministries of Church of the Epiphany now. How is God calling you forward to engage with ministry in the immediate moment instead of simply waiting for things to return to “normal?” (I hasten to add that it is likely to be a long while before we see something that looks like what we would have called normal just four weeks ago.) Our call is to be ministers of the Gospel right this second, in this moment, in this time. God is inviting us to think about the ways that we do ministry now to share the good news that we have received – the good news of Jesus Christ.
At the moment, there are important ways that you can join a ministry that is doing really important work in the life of our parish for the current moment of pandemic. I invite you to consider becoming an online reader, an online intercessor, an online usher/greeter, or a member of the online A/V team as we seek to share the good news in and through worship. I invite you to consider becoming one of our daily prayer ministers to help us share the good news of Christ Jesus through Morning Prayer and Compline on Facebook live. I invite you to join us in building a more stable financial future for our parish by making a one-time gift to the Foundations Fund of our parish, which will be used to support two local agencies helping immediate needs and to help our parish refinance its debt. I invite you to consider joining one of the Parish Councils as we discern new ways to make disciples of all nations and as we share the good news with the whole creation.
All of these are ways for our parish to follow in the footsteps of the apostles and prophets. They are ways for us to take up the invitation that St. Mark gives to us at the end of his gospel narrative: “Go into all the world proclaiming the good news to the whole creation.” We are the people that God is calling to enter into God’s mission made known in Christ Jesus. We are the people that are called to herald the good news, and we are the people that are called to build upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets.
The moment of this pandemic could have been a moment of stagnation for our parish. Instead, we have discovered new ways to enter into ministry, but we need your help to keep this momentum going. The call of the gospel is not a call that is limited to the clergy or staff of a parish. It is a call on the hearts of all followers of Jesus, and our parish needs your support in the many ministries that are coming online (er, pun intended) because of the dedication and creativity of folks just like you. Join us as we continue to share the good news. Join us as we build up the church for the next generation. Join us as we share the love of God in new spaces, in fresh expressions of discipleship, and in faithfulness to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Join us as we go into all the world by way of online media sharing the good news with the whole of creation.