God came among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to show us the way. He came to show us the way to life. The way to love. He came to show us the way beyond what often can be the nightmares of our own devisings and into the dream of God intending. That's why when Jesus called his first followers, He did it with the simple words, "Follow me." Follow me, He said, and I will make you fish for people. Follow me, and love will show you how to become more than you ever dreamed you could be. Follow me, and I will help you change the world from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends. Jesus came and started a movement, and
We are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.Near the end of Matthew's Gospel, the story of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, when Mary Magdalene and some of the women go to the tomb, to anoint his body. When they get there, they find that the tomb is empty, the stone has been rolled away, and there is no body there. Then they see and hear an angel, who says to them, this Jesus of Nazareth whom you seek, He is not here. He has been raised, as He said He would be, and He has now gone ahead of you to Galilee. There, you will see him. It is in Galilee that the risen Lord will be found and seen, for He has gone ahead of us. Galilee - which is a way of talking about the world. Galilee - in the streets of the city. Galilee - in our rural communities. (Hey, that's us!!) Galilee in our hospitals. Galilee in our office places. Galilee where God's children live and dwell. There in Galilee, you will meet the Living Christ for He has already gone ahead of you.
A few years ago, I was in a coffee shop in Raleigh, North Carolina, just a few blocks away from our diocesan house there. And while in line, I started a conversation with a gentleman who turned out to to be a Mennonite pastor. He had been sent to Raleigh to organize a church in the community on the streets, without walls. As we were talking over our coffee, he said something to me that I have not forgotten. He said the Mennonite community asked him to do this because they believed that in this environment in which we live, the church can no longer wait for its congregation to come to it. The church must go where the congregation is. Now is our time to go: to go into the world to share the Good News of God and Jesus Christ. To go into the world and help to be agents and instruments of God's reconciliation. To go into the world, and let the world know that there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love, can set us all free. This is the Jesus Movement, and we are the Episcopal Church, the Episcopal branch of Jesus' Movement in this world. God bless you, and keep the faith.