‘For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name O Jesus, be forever blest.
Familiar words and a time-honoured tune filled the church of St. James, Stalmine, as parishioners young, and not so young, gathered to celebrate the patronal feast.
Rev. Dyllis Dickinson opened the service with a prayer to St. James, that we might follow his example in our Christian lives. She challenged us all to reflect on what it means to be a follower of Jesus and spoke of the importance of church and church family. Having emerged from the recent pandemic, St. James’ church has much to be thankful for:
God’s Holy Spirit is really working in this place
We were reminded of how, like St. James who has gone before us, we are all called to serve, using our unique and special gifts. The harvest is plentiful, the workers may be few, but Jesus asks each one of us to serve the people of the parish, with joy in our hearts.
God has gifted us all with talents, to be used for His glory. What a responsibility this is! We are called to share our skills so that His church will grow stronger in this place.
What do Shirley and Graham, Kim, TJ, Caitlyn and Scarlet, and Alwynn all have in common? Quite simply, they have been so inspired by the church family at St. James’, they wanted to share their faith journey with us. Each one spoke eloquently, and from the heart about how they felt drawn to
St. James’. Here are some of their words:
“We’ve made many wonderful friends here.”
“This is the friendliest church I’ve ever been to in my life!”
“We are always welcome.”
“This is a kind, caring church.”
“I’m looking forward to being baptised here.”
“I have never felt so welcome anywhere.”
“I feel at home and at peace here.”
Such wonderful testimonies and personal stories…there’s much to celebrate!
Judith led the prayers…citing words drafted for a homily for a celebration of departed priests, commonly attributed to Oscar Romero, though they were never spoken by him:
It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us…
…This is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water the seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders;
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
An emotional service drew to a close, giving the congregation much food for thought, but most of all, to reflect on how we can answer God’s call, and take up the challenge to serve Him in this place.