So for today’s E-vangelon, something a little different, and that’s first, to express my appreciation for all who did so much to make it such a wonderful event, and two, to share a part of the Rev. Mary Davila’s sermon from last night.
First, the thanks: everything was fantastic, from:
- the tours of the historic buildings and grounds to
- the amazing potluck supper – we had an HUGE crowd for that and so special thanks to the hospitality folks who quickly set up additional tables and chairs for the overflow, to
- all the communications and special publicity and signage, to
- the gracious administrative support for the worship service leaflets, to
- the beautiful music, to
- the warm hospitality of ushers and greeters, to
- the “continuing congregation” folk who agreed to let us thank you, to
- the heart-felt blessings and symbols of ministry we exchanged, to
- the 30+ new members we welcomed, to
- all the ecumenical and visiting clergy and diocesan and wider Falls Church community folk who came out to celebrate with us, to
- the generosity of those who contributed to the offering, designated to Cathy and my discretionary fund to be good news to the poor.
And here is part of Mary Davila’s sermon that I found particularly powerful: the part where she was preaching on Ephesians 1:15 --
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.
On behalf of the thousands of people who have lifted you up in prayer for the past seven or so years, I say “thank you.” Thank you for your faith, thank you for your perseverance, thank you for your hope-filled trust in the promises of Jesus Christ. When I read your mission statement, those words leapt off the page: thank you for your hope filled trust in the promises of Jesus Christ.
“We have just heard the story of God’s faithfulness to the people of The Falls Church Episcopal during your time of separation from your property and as you have made your way home.
And now, in a spirit of thanksgiving for your recent past, it’s time to think about the present and future of The Falls Church.
What are the promises that God is making to you now?
In what ways will you live out your hope filled trust in the promises of Jesus Christ?
As you engage in a process of discernment that will result in a vision for the future, I want you to hold on to one prayer, and to one promise.
The prayer is from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul says, “I pray that with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which (Jesus Christ) has called you.”
The eyes of your heart enlightened. Paul’s prayer, my prayer, is that you will see with eyes of the heart.
What does that mean, to see with eyes of the heart? Remember the two disciples who meet the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus; remember how they do not recognize Jesus in that moment. After breaking bread with Jesus, their eyes are opened, and looking back on the events of the day, the disciples say, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking to us on the road?” Their hearts came alive in the presence of Jesus, their hearts were leaping out of their chests, and their hearts were fully alive.
A heart that is on fire, a heart that is fully alive, is a heart that not only sees the truth, but it is a heart that beats in rhythm with the heart of our Lord and Savior.
And when that happens, when our hearts beat in rhythm with God’s heart, watch out, world.
The people of The Falls Church Episcopal have no doubt already heard John Ohmer refer to John Eldredge, and specifically, John Eldredge’s teaching about a heart that is fully alive. Eldredge asks,
If you had permission to do what you really wanted to do, what would you do?
What is written in your heart?
What makes you come alive?
If you could do what you’ve always wanted to do, what would it be?
Don’t ask “how” questions – “how” cuts desire off at the knees.
Release control in exchange for the recovery of the dreams in your heart.
Release control, in exchange for the recovery of the dreams in your heart.
If you as individuals are willing to listen to the rhythm of your heart, and then Go…watch out. The two most important decisions that my husband and I have made were based on nothing other than a heartbeat. One involved growing our family, and the other was around a move. Over the years, the words “Yes” and “Go” slowly seeped into our very being, and we were willing, not just willing, but able, even when the stakes and risks were large, to see with eyes of the heart.And so also for those words – for that Word – I say thanks, Mary…and thanks be to God!
When our hearts beat in rhythm with God’s heart, watch out, world. When the quickening of a heart is met with the words, “Yes,” and “Go,” watch out world.