“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:20
I have been considering what makes St. James a unique place. What would make people come to St. James, find a church home here, and become members? What would keep bringing people to our doors and into our sanctuary?
Although we have some wonderful music, I’m not sure that’s it. Our newly installed Senior Pastor Jeni gives some beautiful sermons (and Heaven knows I try my best), but I don’t think that’s what brings people to us. We have a lovely facility, but I don’t feel that’s what does it either. The answer, I think, is that the community of St. James is what makes it unique. It’s not anything that we, the staff at St. James, can do. Instead, it’s what all of you do. Without you and your welcoming words to visitors, your presence in our space, and your role in our community, St. James changes.
I’m currently studying the New Testament letters for one of my classes and one thing that Paul writes about often, more often than worship or buildings or anything else, is community. I hope, like Paul does in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 “that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”
It’s easy to think that community is defined by a place, but I would suggest that community is an act. Community is experienced we experience life together, with all of its joys and pains, all of its grief and laughter, and it’s in those experiences that St. James becomes more than a building. It becomes a community – a community which serves its neighbors, prays for all humanity, and practices and proclaims Christ’s love to the world.
St. James Blog
Periodic notes and updates from the staff of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mason City, Iowa