2nd Sunday after Epiphany
1 Samuel 3:1-20 & John 1:43-51
- In our gospel lesson for today, Jesus calls persons to come join him in a relationship that will change their lives. And these persons invite others to be a part of the dynamic movement that is the mission and ministry of Jesus. Those who join are seeking a deeper spiritual connection with the living God. “We have found HIM!” Philip tells Nathaniel. When Nathaniel wonders about someone from Nazareth being the ONE, Philip simply says, “Come and see;” as if to say, check it out for yourself.
- In the Old Testament lesson the call of Samuel tells us that “the Word of the Lord was rare in those days and visions were not widespread” and yet, in the calling of Samuel, God is ready to do something new that “will make ears tingle.” Lives will be changed by the ministry of this prophet.
- When people come to Trinity for the first time, they often tell me that they are seeking for something deeper, more meaningful for their lives. They are seeking a connection with the living God and a community that is authentic in its faith and witness.
- In our ministry here at this corner of the city, we aim to provide that connection, through Worship, Prayer, Conversation and missional work in the community. Our intentional Welcome is a Come and See call to experience the living Jesus in our midst.
- At the December council meeting I shared a concern that has been in my heart for some time here as the pastor and spiritual leader of Trinity.
- I have served here for 4 years and 8 months. In that time, we have had numerous first time guests and I’ve been able to help them in their search through brunches, conversations, pastoral counseling, or connecting them with other Trinity family members.
- The problem is that I am one person. I can help when they first come, but as other commitments, and other pastoral duties, including reaching out to OTHER first time guests arise, I must move on – and then these persons who have come seeking us out slip through the cracks. They enjoy the hospitality of our community, its joy and love, our vibrant worship. But, as time goes by, they move on. Perhaps we are not able to fully provide them with what they need. Very likely they have not bonded with others in our family.
- As the council works on our Strategic Plan for these next years, we are attempting to address this pastoral concern. I will now share with you some of the dreams that we have: (please be aware that they have not been finally approved by the council, nor presented to you as a congregation as of yet for your approval; these are just part of the conversation)
- Engaging in an internship program with Philadelphia Seminary where a student would be with us part time for 3 years.
- Strengthening the work of the Women’s Group and the Men’s Group.
- Developing more Prayer Ministry and a Care Team Ministry.
- More Wine & Cheese opportunities in the Rectory for conversation and spiritual growth.
- Other Adult education opportunities like Bible Study (which has started on Thursday evenings).
- Developing our Fellowship time after worship more fully, as we believe this is an important time of bonding.
- Development of a Spanish language ministry to include bible study and eventually a Spanish language worship service.
- Regular retreats for the Council to deepen their relationship and spirituality.
- Continuing Congregational retreats at least once a year.
- Survey of the Trinity family to inquire of those ministry opportunities that would help deepen your spirituality and faith life.
- These are just some of the ideas that we are discussing in the area of pastoral care. There are many others in administration, finance, social services, education, worship & music, outreach, social media, property, etc.
- Our purpose as a congregational family is to proclaim the gospel of the Crucified and Risen Christ and to envelop each person here in the warm embrace of God’s love for you. As we say in our Mission Promise Statement: To Seek and Share God’s Grace through Welcome, Worship and Work.
- This mission that we have is not to one individual, alone. In order to be family, in order to be the church, it takes more than one.
- This is our 125th year as a congregation in the Astoria/Long Island City community. We were started by pioneers who wanted to see that the name of Jesus was proclaimed and lived in a new way. And they worked together to make this happen.
- In this new year as you contemplate your own spiritual life, I urge you to speak with me or one of our congregational leaders about how we can provide a place for you to intentionally join with others in the missional work we are doing now, or help us identify new ways in to make Christ’s presence REAL for your life.
- Let the words of our next hymn become alive in you:
“Will you come and follow me
if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown
in you and you in me?
ELW #798, Verse One.