July 16, 2017
Fr. Charles Landry
My prayers are with you as I prepare for vacation. I pray that our youngsters who will be participating in our annual Vacation Bible School will have a great week of learning about the richness of God’s love and mercy and the richness of God’s church. They will be learning about the love of God and the love of God’s church through the love that our wonderful volunteers will be sharing with them. I pray that our church community welcomes Fr. Anand Isukala, an Indian priest who will be making an appeal for his diocese in India and that we generously share in the work of his mission through our offering. I pray that Deacons Tom Labat and Kirk Duplantis will lead our weekday worshippers in prayer and reflection of God’s Word. I pray for all of us that we grow deeper in our love for the Lord and the Lord’s church world-wide, diocesan-wide and community-wide. We are not only a local church; we belong to the world-wide church of Jesus Christ.
As Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim his church to the world, so through our Baptism we are sent to continue His mission. It is Jesus’ mission and it is Jesus’ church, not ours. I share the following story that puts it all in proper perspective.
There is an African parable about two villages separated by a river. In each village, there lived a woodworker who knew how to make chairs. Both knew the secret of making strong, durable and beautiful chairs.
But the chair maker in the first village was afraid to teach others because he thought they would not make the chairs correctly and worse, if they did, they could cut into his business. So he jealously guarded his work. He became suspicious of anyone with wood, worried that they might discover his secret. He would ridicule them and warn them not to try and make a chair themselves. So he made all the chairs in the village. The chair maker eventually died alone and his secret with him.
But the chair maker in the second village did not keep his knowledge to himself. He helped anyone who asked what wood to use, how to plane and cut the pieces, how to mix the glue to assemble the pieces. Over the years, many of the young men of the village served as his apprentices. Sometimes one of them would discover a way to improve the chair. The master chair maker would encourage the apprentice to show what he discovered to others. As a result, the villages would come and buy their excellent chairs.
We must never forget that we are Jesus’ church. We cannot be controlling or selective about our membership. We must not try to control and manipulate the membership due to our own fears, etc. We cannot be afraid of inviting new members into the church community and introducing ourselves to them. We must welcome them and be open to the gifts and talents that they bring and encourage them to share them with us in our mission of building Jesus’ church.
Our mission is to keep building Jesus’ church by using the gifts and talents that have been given to us and by encouraging others to use theirs. What a wonderful privilege and mission that we have been given.