St. Francis is a very rich learning environment. Our little church offers three weekly small-group Bible studies, as well as Education for Ministry (EfM) for direct scriptural engagement and reflection each week. We also offer the most sublime learning opportunities for our children and youth, all in a thoughtful, reflective Episcopal voice. Yes, mission is the end goal of living out “The Way” in this world, but we cannot possibly live it in accordance with Jesus’ message if we don’t deeply, artfully, and constantly study and “inwardly digest” Jesus’ message.
One of the church’s primary missions is that of teaching, because teaching is a central part of the job of making disciples. A Christian disciple doesn’t feed the poor only because it is ethically a great thing to do. Christian disciples do it because they love the poor—as peers and God’s children, as much as they love the rich and the powerful, rejecting the status in itself. God’s way is for us to find peace and joy through love of all, no matter their condition, be it poverty or wealth. This isn’t done to achieve a nice, warm feeling; it’s a life’s purpose, taught within the Christian community.
So bringing that message out to the world will involve teaching “the other” what “The Way” is all about. February 14 through March 6, we take a look at the Gospel of Mark as taught by Brian Zook. Brian will help us consider the message of Mark, especially its message about the role of teaching. Jesus’ great parables were first recorded in Mark! Jesus is the teacher, trailed by his mystified and ever-inquiring disciples, who ask as we do, “what did you mean by that?” Jesus taught his disciples, the disciples taught those they met, and we must be prepared to teach those we meet. Mark’s gospel sets this in motion.
By virtue of our baptismal covenant, we are all teachers. We must know our sacred material, accept our role as teachers as Jesus was, and understand those who don’t know “The Way” or why they haven’t listened so far. Breaking through and causing the unbelieving, lost peoples to listen requires us all to take the fruits of our rich St. Francis learning environment and prepare to teach it.
Come and learn in one of the many Bible Study opportunities, and then come on Sunday morning at 10:10 to consider what we can do to teach peace, joy, and love to the jaded, materialistic, nonbelieving world around us.
(reposted from the February Hilltop Herald)