A PERSPECTIVE ON EVANGELISM
Can you recite the Mission of the Order? (The mission of The Order is the extension of Christ’s Kingdom through Prayer, Service and Evangelism.)
Our handbook goes on to define and explain evangelism for us: “Each Daughter promises to make a conscientious and constant effort to live out the definition in her life, doing all she can through her words and deeds to bring others, especially women and girls, into a relationship with Jesus and into the fellowship of the church.” It continues along that vein and you can look it up in your handbook. Jesus explains Evangelism in the parable of the Good Samaritan, teaching us about two kinds of people----those who bend down to help and those who look the other way.
Which kind of people will we be? We say, “Yes, Lord, I will love you and love my neighbor.” But then we ask: The migrant... is she my neighbor? Those in poverty...are they my neighbors? Victims of war across the world... are they neighbors? One who faces racism… is he my neighbor? Those disabled or elderly... are they my neighbors? You remind us: Yes. All of these are neighbors. Reach out to them and evangelize. But, they often are closer than you think. They may actually BE our neighbor, or a member of our church, or a child on a bus. Or an elderly man in a group home. Again, which kind of people will we be?
In his book Love is the Way, which many of us have read in preparing for the Spring Retreat, Bishop Curry shows us that evangelism need not only be sharing God’s word vocally with others, but can include acts of kindness, friendliness, and love to those around us, known and unknown. ACTS, Sisters. The Bishop encourages us to recognize opportunities to share an act of kindness or help even before it is requested; to see the needs or heartaches around us and act in ways to provide or comfort, even in our neighbors, fellow parishioners, and even in our fellow Sisters.
We can step out of our lives of our own disappointments, heartaches, and troubles because we can take those to our Lord to share. We can also open our eyes to the spiritual needs of those in our everyday lives, reach out to those people with the same comfort we know and try to bring the peace of God to them. We should not keep that Love to ourselves!
We can’t solve all the problems of the migrants, or change governments in a day, or heal all the ill and disabled. But a helping hand, a word of understanding, patience with the young are ways we can evangelize to our communities and may be ways to spread knowledge of God’s love and grace in ways that will improve the lives of those with whom we live.
Let us pray: Show us how to love, Lord, open our eyes. May we emerge from our comfortable isolation. May we build a world of compassion and dignity, even in our own church or neighborhood. Lord Jesus, who was neighbor to all, help us to persevere in love. Help us to restore dignity to the suffering. Help us to build a society based not on exclusion, but on community, even in those WE see and know, in our own small worlds.
In Jesus’s name we pray.
Parishes and Chapters for 2021 Prayer Cycle Assignment
Advent Sisters of Prayer Senior Spartanburg 02/07/21
Ascension Blessed Virgin Mary Senior Clemson 02/14/21
At Large Senior Various 02/21/21
Atonement Lutheran Rose Senior Laurens 02/28/21
Christ Church St Margaret Senior Piedmont 03/07/21
Church of the Ridge St Clare of Assisi Senior Ridge Spring 03/14/21
Epiphany Dorcas Senior Spartanburg 03/21/21
Faith Lutheran St Therese of Lisieux Senior Liberty 03/28/21
Good Shepherd Bishop Howe Senior Columbia 04/04/21
Good Shepherd Julian Of Norwich Senior York 04/11/21
Good Shepherd St Joan of Arc Junior Greer 04/18/21
Good Shepherd St Teresa Senior Greer 04/25/21
Grace Mary & Martha Senior Camden 05/02/21
Holy Cross St Clare Senior Simpsonville 05/09/21
Holy Trinity Mary E M Laib Senior Clemson 05/16/21
Incarnation Martha & Mary Senior Gaffney 05/23/21
Redeemer St Agnes of Rome Junior Greenville 05/30/21
Redeemer St Therese Senior Greenville 06/06/21
Resurrection St Margaret Senior Greenwood 06/13/21
St Alban St Alban Senior Lexington 06/20/21
St Andrew Our Lady of Walsingham Senior Greenville 06/27/21
St Augustine Sisters of Prayer Senior Aiken 07/04/21
St Bartholomew St Bartholomew Senior Warrenville 07/11/21
St Christopher St Clare of Assisi Senior Spartanburg 07/18/21
St David Dove Senior Columbia 07/25/21
St Francis of Assisi St Clare Senior Chapin 08/01/21
St George Sisters of Prayer Senior Spartanburg 08/08/21
St James Ruth Senior Taylors 08/15/21
St Luke St Luke Senior Columbia 08/22/21
St Luke St Monica Senior Newberry 08/29/21
St Martin St Martin Senior Columbia 09/05/21
St Mary Daughters Of Mary Senior Columbia 09/12/21
St Matthew St Angela Senior Spartanburg 09/19/21
St Michael Cindy Parrott Senior Easley 09/26/21
St Michael & All Angels Mary of Bethany Senior Columbia 10/03/21
St Peter Peace of the Holy Comforter Senior Greenville 10/10/21
St Philip Good Samaritan Women Senior Simpsonville 10/17/21
St Simon & St Jude Mary Magdalene Senior Columbia 10/24/21
St Thaddeus St Thaddeus Senior Aiken 10/31/21
St Timothy Mary and Martha of Bethany Senior Columbia 11/07/21
Trinity Cathedral St Helena Senior Columbia 11/14/21
Episcopal, Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic Parishes without Chapters Both Upper South Carolina 11/21/21
The Order of the Daughters of the King Outside of our Diocese Both Not Upper South Carolina 11/28/21
The Order of the Daughters of the King Upper South Carolina 12/05/21
All Junior Daughters Chapters Diocesan 12/12/21
GRACE, pt. 2
Earlier this year I wrote about God’s grace, emphasizing that, since we have free will, we sometimes believe we do not need God’s grace and sin willingly, sometimes violently. We should realize that God does have grace to offer and we should be open to receiving it. Without it, we cannot come to Him.
Let’s revisit this concept of Grace. There is more to be said.
During the second half of August the selected readings for the daily offices have included the death of Stephen, a faithful apostle of Christ. We know the story of this beloved servant of God, who may have been the one to carry the cross for Jesus on the route to Golgotha. He continued to preach the new faith in Jesus Christ, but was not accepted by the Jews or Romans. After coming once again before the Sanhedran, we learn of his stoning and death. Even as he dies, he asks God to forgive the people.
How could God have allowed Stephen to die? Why did He willfully suspend His grace to his faithful servant and strike down his tormentors? Webster’s New World College Dictionary definition of Grace includes this concept "The unmerited love and favor of God toward human beings; divine influence acting in a person to make the person pure, morally strong; the condition of a person brought to God's favor through this influence.” Sounds as though Stephen qualified! He certainly kept his faith and witnessed to everyone about the blessings of God, even asking God to forgive those who were killing him. What was God doing here? Why wasn’t Stephen saved?
But, back up a moment. Did you notice something in that definition above? It states unmerited love and favor of God toward human beings. And passages in God’s Word enforce this idea:
· Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
· Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
· Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
In other words, God loves us all, sinner, nonsinner (or so he thinks), believer and nonbeliever. He extends His grace to all, allowing all people another chance to come to believe in His love and salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, in the telling of the death of Stephen, we learn of a familiar figure in Biblical literature: Saul, who hated the Christians and witnessed the stoning of Stephen, even holding the coats of those who threw the deadly weapons. God granted Saul, and others there that day, His grace to live another day, and another day. Until, one day Saul “saw the light,” repented and became the voice of God to many churches and believers. God spared the life of Saul that day, waiting for him to repent and come to a faith in Jesus Christ. God’s grace was not only for Stephen, who was taken to eternal life, but for the stoners and Saul.
It is always difficult to learn of the death of a dear friend or relative, especially now in these days of the Covid-19 affecting so very many. How many times do you find yourself asking “dear God, why him? He had so much faith that You would protect him.” But, of course, God does protect him—from eternal damnation. He gives His grace to all people, even those who do not (yet) believe, those who disobey His commandments, to those who have not yet heard of Him or have even rejected Him. We all receive His grace to live another day to continue our work here on earth: to please Him, to love Him, to spread the news of Him whenever and wherever we can.
So, let’s be about our work! Continue to please Him. Continue to love Him. Continue to spread His Word. It is what we can do, it is what we ought to do.
A Collect for Grace
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that we, being ordered by thy governance, may
do always what is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Elaine Sandberg, Worship Chair