As we gather in faith to worship we recognize that the liturgical and calendar year is coming to end. As we approaching these last few weeks the scriptures speak to us about the end of times, the changing transformative power of God. Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians is teaching us about the power of God to change and transform our lives.
Paul tells about how Christ changed his life. Paul’s experience of the resurrected Jesus not only changed Paul’s life but put him on new path and totally new direction. From persecuting the church of God, to preaching the Good News and eventually giving the final gift of total self-giving. Jesus wants to change and transform us, so that we can be a powerful witness for him. Life can be turned upside down in a way that we can longer live as we did before. It changes our thinking, it changes our perception, it changes our world and what is really important has a new focus.
“We do not want you to be unaware about brothers and sisters,
who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
This transformation is our hope for not only eternal life but for now. Now is the time for us to embrace hope, to believe that it is Christ who brings changes. “All things work out for the good of those who love the Lord according to His purpose.” I believe it is the holy power of God at work. Expecting that things will never change and must remain as they always were is an illusion. Paul clearly new that when there is hope in Christ and his ability to change us, no matter what happens in our lives, Christ will transform it.
St Joseph must be caught up in this living the transformative life. Like Paul, allow Jesus to affect us that we are turned upside down, transformed to light our lamps of faith so that we can await Jesus’ coming. If we are ready with our lamps lit, we are a people that is constantly called to wait, through prayer, through serving the poor, to embrace others, to let everyone know they are welcomed and valued. St Joseph is a place where all who enter our doors can feel a part of this parish. No matter what color, background, way of life All are welcome and invited to live a life transformed by the power of Christ.
Our prayer, our worship, our study of God’s Word, our reaching those on the peripheries is how we are actively waiting. Each one matters, God draws new people to us or some are returning home. As we see the excitement in our children’s eyes as they serve, read or sing , and as we see the joy in the eyes of young women committing themselves in a new way to faith. As we visit those in retirement communities and the joy they experience God wants and will do something new in us. So many volunteers active in our church. What a sign of active committed faith. Stand and pray, watch stay alert God has opened a door for us as a people in loving one another, valuing each one God will transform us. Some will leave, some will return, some will hear about us and join our community of faith. We must be a transformed people that sees and values everyone.
I recall being asked what is the culture of St Joseph. St Joseph Church is a culture where all are welcome, all people, all ways of life, all backgrounds are welcome to share who they are knowing that each one brings his or her gifts and that together we walk as a people with lamps lit showing others they are valued and we need them all together here as one. Let’s seek to live as a Transformative people In the Light of the Faith.
A transformative culture open to living new and still welcoming others to join us. We sing, we smile, we clap, we cry, we grieve we celebrate and honor the gifts of all. This is a part of life, but we hold together, even in sorrow and pain. We are still rooted in the Transformative life and power of the resurrection of Jesus. Let go and let God be in control. St Joseph is a unique church and God has brought us to this day this moment we are His and He will use it for His glory.
I thank God for both Sunshine and Rain, for good times and the tough times, when confused I seek Christ and in him I am radically changed turned upside.