Show Up. Give Back. Go Forth!
I'm pleased to feature my wife, Joan Best Seamon, the Director of Music at St. Matthias, as today's guest blogger! Recently, at our parish in Somerset, NJ, Joan wrote the following essay for our church bulletin. It was inspired by our parish engagement initiative.
Show Up, Give Back, Go Forth
Recently, our pastoral staff and pastoral council met to discern new directions for our parish over the next few years. As we shared ideas and concerns, our discussion centered on how we might express more clearly our expectations of the members of our parish.
So if you are a member of the Catholic Community of St. Matthias, what do we , or, even more important, what does God expect of you?
1. Show up! That sounds like a major oversimplification, but it’s true. We need you to come to Mass every week. Your presence as the Body of Christ receiving the Body of Christ is vital to the energy and spirit of our parish. Our weekly worship is our chance to see each other, pray with each other and be nourished by the Word and Sacrament. When our church is full of young people, old people and everyone in between, it becomes a real sign of Christ’s living presence. It feels good and important.
I know- you are thinking that you are only one person- what difference does it make if you show up or not. I’m telling you-it does! You might smile at someone, greet someone, or simply be a model for someone of a faith filled life. You have no idea how powerful your presence can be. But if you are not here, and especially if your children are not here, nothing can happen. What’s the point ?
2. Give back! Give back to God gratefully a portion of what God has given to you. That’s what stewardship is all about, but sometimes the real meaning of the word eludes us. St. Matthias certainly needs and
depends upon your financial support to continue our many and varied ministries to the poor and less fortunate – ministries that you may not have needed yet but you might someday. Equally important is the giving back of your time and your talent.
Face it. We all want to feel like we are making a difference in this world to give our lives purpose and meaning. The many ministries at St. Matthias exist to give our members an organized way to do just that. Just think about what you are good at or what you like to do, and offer your help to someone or some group. Some are obvious. If you like to make music, join one of our music groups. If you like coming to Mass and are a friendly person, become one of our Ministers of Hospitality. If you have expertise in a particular area – law enforcement, interior design, …and have an idea for how you might like to share that knowledge, let us know. If you can carry bags of food to your car, help out with our Food Bank collection. If you are free to come to funerals during the week, join our Lazarus Group. It’s not that hard to find just one way to connect and to give back. If you are waiting for a personal invitation, this is it!
3. Go forth! Don’t just be holy in church on Sunday or at an HSA meeting or a GIFT night. Be holy all week long. Be kinder to clerks, co-workers and coaches, not to mention your spouses, parents and children. Make better and more compassionate decisions. You are baptized and a child of God! Act like it! I know life’s not easy, but that’s why we come together so often to help each other figure it out, with God’s help, the guidance of Jesus and the energy of the Holy Spirit.
So, show up, give back and go forth. And let’s do it soon. The church year is ending and another one is just around the corner. The world needs you, your parish needs you. There is no time like right now!
Copyright 2009 by Joan B. Seamon
Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 17, 2009