Parish Ministry | Myra Brown

This is a difficult season for many. In this week's midweek worship, Myra Brown guides us through what parish ministry looks like when our physical parish (the church building) is temporarily closed. We are all called to do God's work in expanding His Kingdom, but what does that look like during a global pandemic?

You and I – we aren’t Clyde or James or Jayne, right?  But at Southview we’ve been taught that we are allministers of the Gospel.  Both in pre-Covid 19 gatherings and still now in our Online Liturgies, we pray for different kinds of ministers each weekend—teachers, overseas missionaries, healthcare workers, caregivers. The list goes on.  Our understanding of the “priesthood of all believers” has moved us more and more towards what the Bible actually says about who we are. Each of us is called to be God’s person in this world and to work towards expanding His Kingdom at school, at work, and by engaging with other cultures in Calgary and around the world.

Nowadays, however, we are staying in our houses as much as possible.  From my bay window here on Shawbrooke Green, I can clearly see five other houses and I understand that the people living in those houses are in my parish.  Therefore, I pray for my neighbours who perhaps know Him—or perhaps don’t.  I pray God’s Spirit will give them a yearning for Him.  I pray God will take the blinders of materialism, disinterest, unbelief, cynicism, etc. off of their eyes.  I pray God’s Spirit will convince them of their need for Him and that they will seek and find Him.

As I pray, though, I realize my parish in some ways extends further than my street.  My neighbours—half or more of them—came from other lands where they still have family and friends who have limited or absolutely NO access to Jesus.  So, I pray exactly the same prayers for my neighbours’ families overseas.  Strangely, I’m finding that the more I pray, the more I care about these far-away folk.

But where are our children as we work in our parish?  We all know that children have a great sense of justice, don’t they?  They know when things aren’t fair.  At some level they can understand that we Calgarians have so much access to Jesus but other people around the world have no access to Him and this isn’t right.  And when we think of Jesus’ suffering and dying for us, is it fair to Him that some people have no access?  Is His sacrifice “wasted” when it comes to people who don’t know about Him? 

This week, as you and your family spend a lot of time in your house, condo or apartment, don’t forget you might not be Clyde but you are a minister of the Gospel and at least part of your parish includes your neighbours.  Yes, we’re the players and the pray-ers in helping His Kingdom to come.  You and I…and our children, we are ministers of the Gospel.

1. What were you thinking as you read this?  Do you consider yourself to be a minister of the Gospel?  Why or why not?

2. Could your children join you at your window?  Could you pray for the people in each house you can see from your deck?

3. Do you have neighbours who come from places where there is no access to Jesus?  Could you pray for them?

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