“The word of God continued to advance and gain adherents.” (Acts 12:24) With these words the Apostles began to look westward to take the Gospel message into the rest of the world. (Cf. Acts 13:1)
Up to this point the spread of the Gospel had been limited to Judea and Israel. Antioch was a stepping stone for taking the Gospel message on into Asia Minor and the Mediterranean. As we all know, at least most of us do, the Gospel message continued to spread into the world. First it spread around the Mediterranean Sea, then into Northern Europe, primarily there through the missionary work of Christian monks.
By the Sixteenth Century as a result of migrations, Christianity had spread to America, then in succeeding centuries into many other parts of the world.
But by the middle of the 20th century something began to happen. The faith of many began to waver. Church attendance began to diminish in places where it had flourished before.
Many of us are concerned about growing secularity in places where faith had flourished. More than ever before we who are concerned are seeking ways in which to face this situation.
Currently here in the SSJE we are looking to “The Five Marks of Mission”, developed in the Church of England, to help point our way to stronger faith in God for the mission of the Church.
Recently all of us here in the Monastery have been praying and reading to help us better to understand how those 5 Marks of Mission can be used as we face the current situation.
The 5 Marks of Mission are briefly: “To proclaim the Good News; To teach, baptize and nurture; To respond to human needs by loving service; To transform unjust structures and pursue peace; To strive to safeguard and
Renew the life of the earth.”
In the Gospel reading today I found comfort in Jesus’ words, “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.” (Jn 12:46) What words of Jesus do you find helpful?
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