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  • Writer's pictureFr. Gustavo

A letter from "John"

Anonymous (Ethiopian). 'John the Evangelist,' ca. 1540. tempera and ink on parchment. Walters Art Museum (W.850.153V): Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund, 1998.
St John the Evangelist, Ethiopian, 1540, Walters Art Museum
As I shared with those in attendance at our Congregation Meeting, I received a "letter" addressed to our Meeting, "written" by our brother "John" to serve both as a Sermon and the Vicar's Report.

To the St David’s Congregational Meeting,


Greetings in the Name of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.  Your brothers and sisters here in Ephesus join me in sending our love and best wishes.


Like I wrote elsewhere, “I am writing to remind you, my brothers and sisters, that we should love one another. 

"This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning.  Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.”


Now, as I gather that you are having your 2024 Congregational Meeting, my brother and your brother and pastor, Gustavo, asked me to address you.  And so, I am honored to do so.


First, I would like to commend you all for your faithfulness.  I know that you are a small group of brothers and sisters, and yet you kept the faith.  I am sure that in time, God will reward your service and will fill you with new praise and fruitful abundance.  Just keep on keeping on.  Even if the powers that be sometimes may not seem very keen on your endeavors, nevertheless your heavenly Father is very much appraised of your work and, as always, He is one hundred percent committed to your success.


I know that sometimes congregational meetings are mostly concerned with reports — and numbers!  I know that looking at the past in general is not too bad.  But crunching numbers sometimes is depressing.


Yes; for some people, numbers are all important.  Trends, reports, how many times did do you this, or did you that, or what is the square root of the average attendance on even numbered Sundays in odd years… and so much more!  However, just take it in stride.


For you need to know this — There is not enough paper or computers in the world to count the numbers of the company of heaven, your brothers and sisters which every Sunday gather on the other side of the altar rail to share communion with you.


But most important than numbers, please know this — As you heard from my earlier letter, “Think how much our Father loves you, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”  It is not that you are going to be God’s children if you pay your dues, or you do this or that.  You are now God’s beloved children.


No; it doesn’t mean that you are perfect right now.  In fact, we don’t know how it will be worked out.  But we do know that when Jesus appears again, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him.  That’s love, and that’s grace.  And, let me tell you, at least for our Father, it is all that counts.


I am encouraged for what you have been doing.  You feed Jesus and you sheltered Him.  You took care of him, and you took care of his business.  I know, some of you will be asking, “When did we feed Jesus, or when did shelter him?”  And the answer, my brothers and sisters, is always the same.  As Luke has told you, what you have done unto others, you did unto Him.


As our brother David encouraged so many, it is the little things that count.  So, keep up the good work.


I appreciate that you are planning to outreach to teachers and administrators at your local middle school.  Kudos for you.  For our brother Jesus came to serve, and not to be served.  Remember, always, that our brother is always present as the hidden guest, and I am sure he’s going to be very pleased. 


Now, I am hearing that there are not many of you, and that at times you may feel tired and over-stretched.  But cheer up, we were just eleven, and quite often we were very tired and anxious.  But nevertheless, I guess we managed pretty well, didn’t we?  Remember:  It is not how many are on your side, but who’s on your side.  And you know very well who’s on your side!


Finally, I’d like to encourage you as you move forward.  If I were to say that with God everything is possible you may be tempted to dismiss it as a platitude.  But look, Jesus started by himself, He brough a few of us around him and, look, just a few years later, we reached even the very end of the world.


So now, I will ask you not to think how large your challenges are and how short of resources are you.  Rather, think how powerful is the One who called you into being, how He lifted up Jesus from the dead, and how abundant is His power. So, lift up your eyes, roll up your sleeves, and trusting in God’s lavish grace and love plan for a future filled with blessings and joy.


And now, let me commend you to the care of the Most Holy One, He who can do infinitely more that you can ever ask or imagine.  May He be glorified in your lives, in your worship, and in your witness, through the mercies of Jesus, the Savior of the World.




Your brother in Christ, John.

Fr. Gustavo

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