21 May 2019
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Dear St. Mark’s Community,
I want to begin by thanking everyone for their participation in our discernment process to date. Our regular parish meetings have been an integral part of the faithful and courageous journey we have taken to get where we are today. The uncertainty of the future with regard to how we will live out our common life is, in many ways, as murky as it was before.
As the words from St. Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, quoted above, make clear the way through the murkiness of the challenges that are facing us as is through a steadfast commitment to love. These words are perhaps most often heard at weddings. That being the case, I would suggest that the love outlined in the 1 Corinthians 13 is at least as important to Churches that are committed to and passionately engaged in the Missio Dei, or Mission of God.
It is important to remember that the church does not have a mission the church is the Mission of God in the world. By Church, we do not mean the building that houses the congregations that worship regularly as the Body of Christ. Rather we understand the church as an ecclesia or ‘gathering’. This gathering is made up, as Paul so aptly tells us, of many members making up one body (see 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4). This reality is evident in our common life. We are a group of folks brought together by the spirit of a Trinitarian God that has made itself manifest in our lives in a variety of ways. The movement of God in us as individuals has helped to form us into a missionary outpost of the Gospel that Jesus himself described in Luke’s Gospel,
“16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.””
The anointing we all have received at Baptism has drafted us into the same mission of declaration.
Just as those who were closest to Jesus misunderstood his intentions and thought he was ‘full of himself’, we may find times when we believe we appear to be out of our depth. I would suggest that is not a bad place to be. In fact it is a place where one’s dependence on prayer and the Power of God is most clear and that upon which we are required to rely when the going gets tough.
I am confident that as clarity of our next steps emerge that we will summon the courage to pray and the will to Love in a way that endures all things and brings us safely to the shores of one of the good and pleasant futures that are possible in God’s imagination for us at St. Mark’s.
---Fr. Warren +
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Co 13:8–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 4:16–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.