Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
In the winter 2016, a large group of faithful and fearful and perhaps hopeful men and women met to dream, to have a conviction for things not seen. That meeting, that conviction, led to a week of fellowship, of laughter, of good food, of sweat, of trapped balloons, of hugs and kisses as the Episcopal Church of Schuylkill County made its presence known to the thousands of people attending the 33rd Annual Schuylkill County Fair. That gathering last winter, this church, this presence, was also unseen; we were as foreigners to one another, looking for a homeland that is yet unknown but promised, as is God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.
And just like those of Isaiah’s time, there are certainly those in this Episcopal Church of Schuylkill County and the Diocese of Bethlehem and the Episcopal Church scoffing at the prophetic voice of the New Isaiahs–these new Isaiahs who are calling us all to wash ourselves of old rubrics and patterns, to make ourselves clean to learn new things. There are those still hiding, still fearful, still not loving, but still hating that the people are willing to seek a treasure with one another. So I say as the Lord said to Isaiah: “Come let us argue, let us analyze, it out! “
So here’s my analysis, my arguing out: We are in the continuation of a new, different, somewhat uncertain era in the church of Christ. The demographics of faith have changed; the costs associated with priests and staff and heating and maintenance have escalated to heights unimaginable. So, keeping the faith, the gathering of 2 or 3 or 60 or 120 or 14 thousand, has changed as well. Isn’t it time to seek a new, potentially better, more focused path to a future of sharing, a future of more outreach, a future of more in-reach, a future of deepening of knowledge and support and faith and love?
Photo credit: Kurt Kovalovich