Bishop Elmer’s message to us throughout the weekend of his parish visit to London was one of encouragement.
In the Saturday seminar on Growing the Church he pointed out that, no matter how good the past has been we cannot “rest on our laurels”, which is to be so pleased with past accomplishments that we don’t move on to even greater heights. No matter how many battles we have won in the past, there are still greater battles in front of us.
Those who have gone before us (the Church triumphant) have completed their battles and finished the races God set before them; now we (the Church militant) are fighting new battles, each running our own race.
He pointed us to God’s method of victory, made clear in Hebrews 12:1-3: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We fix out eyes on Jesus because He ran the race before us. The race will be easier for us if we follow Him, and that means we must let Him lead. This Scripture gives us four actions to take to be successful:
Get rid of the weight of sin; never grow weary of confessing sins – Fight the good fight of faith, standing firm in the truth -Set your eyes on Jesus, not on other people and not on yourself Run the race set before you; don’t try to run someone else’s race
As we are faithful in this effort we will become a church that looks more and more like Jesus;
as we do, we will find our church growing in faith and in size.
By Edye Jackson
St. Stephen’s Parish -London