As we approach a wonderful opportunity to connect with our community this weekend at our annual Fall Festival and Pet Blessing, perhaps it is helpful to bear these needs in mind. Many people want to see how much we care, how we interact with one another, and if we are a loving Christian community that they could be a part of themselves. The most compelling explanation of who we are can be made through our interactions and our hospitality toward them and one another.
I am increasingly convinced that is our best “selling point” for others to find fellowship and a church home. The old adage, “people don't care what you know until they know how much you care,” comes to mind and is so true! A dear mentor of mine often said, “teach them to be Christians first and then we can teach them what it means to be an Anglican Christian.” Her words always seem to resonate in my mind when I am asked to explain what we are all about. Do we express the love, values, charity, and morals of Jesus, whom we proclaim? Do we reach out to others? Do we truly believe what we profess weekly? Does it affects our lives? And perhaps most importantly, how could we help them be a part of it?
As we reflect the love of Jesus, invite others into it, and walk faithfully in His footsteps as contained in Scripture, we answer more questions than we realize. In doing so, we are showing them what it means to be Anglican too! All of the questions that may arise around Sacraments, history, and theology will come, but often these are born out of the relationships they discover with you and me. These relationships often serve to provide teaching moments and invitations to Discovery Days and other times where we can dive deep into such questions.
The easiest answer you can give someone who truly desires to know what we believe might be be, “Come and see!” Invite them to discover it themselves and make yourself available to them in that process. Also, never underestimate the power of sharing your faith and life experiences with someone and why you call Saint Barnabas home. It goes much further than a well crafted statement, I can assure you! I am praying we have many “divine appointments” this weekend to share the love of Jesus with others in our community while inviting them to come and discover it at Saint Barnabas!