The Rector's Message

by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin

Q. What is the duty of all Christians?

A. The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.
                                     The Book of Common Prayer, p. 856

A few weeks ago, in a conversation with a member of the parish before the 11:15 Sunday morning Eucharist, I mentioned that I subscribe to what is known as a "high church" theology. The gentleman with whom I was speaking asked if that referred to a preference for an elaborate worship style. I responded that, although ornate worship is often a symbol of such a theological orientation, to be "high church" actually means that one has a high theology of the church; that one believes that the Body of Christ, the community of faith, has a vitally important role to play in the lives of Christians. I went on to explain that I believe the worshipping community is the place where we can all find companionship, comfort, challenge, strength, and nurture we cannot find on our own as we seek God. The relationship between an individual and God is immensely important, to be sure; but I devoutly believe that that relationship can-and needs to-be nourished through participation in the ongoing life of prayer and worship which is at the core of the Church's very being.

All of that is a long way of saying that nothing we do as the community of faith is as important as gathering to praise God in song, scripture and sacrament. To put it even more plainly, we need one another. We need regular contact and communication and communion in every sense of that word if we are to grow individually and as God's people. We need to sing and to laugh together; to ponder and to reflect together; to struggle and to strive together; and we need to do so young and old alike, in season and out, every bit as much in summer as in winter.

Each of us has something to give to the kingdom of God, and each of us has some unique gift we need to receive. Truthfully, and selfishly, I miss people when they are not in church on Sundays. But much more importantly, it is within the community of faith that we find our own faith strengthened and provoked and stretched. So this summer, join your brothers and sisters in Christ, your nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles in Christ as together we seek to follow Christ; work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God; and to move ever closer to God.