“ALL THE WORLD MY PARISH”
This is one of the powerful words of John Wesley the founder of the Methodist Movement, our denomination the Christian United Church derives our Charism from him. Before I became a clergy of the Christian United Church I was very narrow minded in the ways on how the church should operate. My past experiences and influences from other churches took hold on me on how I viewed church life. I taught that the measure of a successful pastor was to have a big church with millions of members but God proved me wrong.
As I pondered on this words I remembered my life when I started our small church last October. I have been conducting Holy Unions outside of our chapel and serving people who are members of other churches. I was also invited to celebrate thanksgiving masses for members of other churches. And these experiences gave me a new outlook on doing church. I am used to serve our members only. I am used to be in the company of our exclusive fellowship. I am happy in our own company and community. But God was saying to me otherwise.
Outside of our church, chapel, community and company there are many people dying, hungry, hurting and are of need. Even their own churches doesn’t have the heart to take care of them, and that is why God raised man and women like me to do the job that other churches doesn’t do. Every time I served this people outside of our church walls they are so blessed with the mass and also the words of God is this not a measure of spiritual success? As I know realize it is.
December is now nearing to its end, this year it has been a merry go round for me, much like a telenovela with fast phasings. People loved me, hated me, insulted me, ridiculed me, and persecuted me. I just kept my peace, I just kept silent and just whispered a prayer to the Almighty. I thought that my life will end last year. Everything was dark and gloomy. But God gave me a ray of hope. People didn’t want me to their ministry and saying so many unloving things. But God doesn’t want me to stop, He just couldn’t let go of me even I really wanted to stop and walk away.
As the saying goes when a door closes God opens windows. The Christian United Church welcomed me. They spread their arms to me just like a loving mother would do. They accepted me as one of their clergy and understanding where I came from. The fire in me was ignited again. Never did I dream that I will conduct at least four Holy Unions in a month. Never did I dream that I will be invited to celebrate mass together with our City Mayor. Never did I dream that other associations will invite me to celebrate mass for them. This is God working in me and in us.
I thought that serving God is just inside the church. But the Holy Spirit is sending me or trying to send me outside of what I Know. The Holy Spirit was right when he inspired John Wesley to say that “All the worlds my Parish”. It was so true to him then and it is so true to us now. There are many outside of other churches who wants to be blessed with the word and the sacraments and as I pondered on this truth God will raised up an army of people and leaders who will have this zeal, people who will not just be confined in the four corners of their chapels but will view the world as their own parish. Praise be to the Father, Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen