This Rally Day Sunday marks the beginning of a landmark program year in the life of the Christ Church Cathedral Family. We will launch our Christian formation and music programs and prepare for the usual events of the Church year, all the while looking forward in a new way. As we anticipate the restoration of our historic steeple later this fall, we will begin a process of studying the feasibility of completing the remaining components of the master plan for our facilities.
During our worship, we will commission our Christian formation teachers, giving thanks and offering our support for their important ministry. Then, following worship, we will gather in the Chapter House for a parish meeting. There will be opportunities for everyone to sign up for various ministries, and I will explain some of the new elements of our formation program. Then, there will be a presentation about the master plan and the feasibility study. Jim Barganier, of Barganier Davis Sims Architects, will be present to explain the remaining portions of the plan designed and approved in 2009. Then, Tom Hanrahan and his team from Southeastern Advancement Services will be introduced; Tom will explain the process of interviews and questionnaires that will be used to discern whether and how we will undertake this forward-looking project. I hope that many of you will be present.
Our lessons from scripture this Sunday focus on God’s power and faithfulness—and the faithful following that God asks of us in return. The gospel reading from Luke gives us Jesus’ telling of two familiar parables of the lost and found: the lost sheep and the lost coin. At this point in his ministry, Jesus had been welcoming and eating with the tax collectors and sinners who came to listen to him teach. The “insiders” of the time, the scribes and the Pharisees, grumbled about this, and in response to their displeasure Jesus told these parables. Imagine, he said, that you are a shepherd with 100 sheep; if one goes missing, you would leave the 99 and go looking for that one lost sheep. Then, after walking and searching high and low, when you found it you would be elated, and carry it back to the flock rejoicing! Likewise, imagine you are a woman who has ten silver coins; when one goes missing, you would turn the house upside down, sweeping and looking closely until you found it, and when you did you would be elated and share your joy with all your friends and neighbors. This is what God is always doing, Jesus explained. God is always desiring and searching, looking intently for those who are not following in his way. When he finds them, he welcomes them to him. AND, there is rejoicing in heaven—a real celebration—every time ONE lost person returns to God’s way.
This is God’s primary action in our lives. God loves each one of us, and everyone else, no matter what we have done or not done; and so, God loves looking for us and celebrating when he finds us. Doesn’t this tell us pretty clearly what we ought to be doing, in our individual lives and in our life together? We should be looking for and welcoming and celebrating with everyone who would be a part of the household of God that we enjoy so much here. And we should be all about doing everything in our power to make this place available to them.