I was at the School of Preaching at Wycliffe Hall at the University of Oxford last week where I met ministers of the Gospel from different corners of the world. One of the groups that impressed me most were the young students at Wycliffe who are studying for ordination in the Church of England. In essence, they are studying to work in mission territory, the United Kingdom, where only 5% of the population attends church. These young people are very intelligent, and I have no doubt that if they went into private industry, they would do well for themselves financially. Instead, they have decided to make next to nothing on a minister’s salary, and to dedicate their lives to preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ in a country which is vastly secular. Why? They have met the living Christ who has transformed their lives and they want to tell others even if it costs them personally. Their journey will not be an easy one. They will be confronted with opposition; they will encounter rejection. In the words of today’s appointed reading from the Act of the Apostles, they will have to be “constantly devoting themselves to prayer.” (Acts 1:14).
Let us pray: O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Your servant in Christ,
The Rev. Chester J. Makowski+St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550