And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
- Acts 6.7
Modesty and moderation, meekness and mildness adorned them all in equal measure. The evils of sloth and dissension were banned. Pride and haughtiness were expiated by severe punishments. Scorn and envy were driven out by faithful diligence. So great was the might of their patience, love and mildness that no one could doubt that the God of mercy dwelt among them.
- Jonas, Life of St. Columban, Italian, 7th century
The church in Jerusalem, thousands strong and growing, was ready to break apart across any number of fissures – economic, racial, traditional.
Yet, guided by wise and patient shepherds, they managed to resolve their differences with such harmony and love, that the people of Jerusalem could only marvel and long to be a part of their community of faith – even those who had been enemies of the Gospel.
Remember: that “great company of priests” had heard Jesus, heard the apostles, and listened with disapproval to their former synagogue members explain why they were leaving. But when they saw the lived reality of thousands of disparate individuals working together to care for one another in love, the reality of the faith and resurrection of Christ broke through their hardened souls.
Don’t you long to be part of a community like that?
The same was true of Columbanus and his band of disciples. Wherever they went their resolute morality, earnest spirituality, fervent preaching, and determined way of caring for and edifying one another made a powerful impression on lapsed believers and pagans alike.
The power of holiness, love, and mission fervency that people saw in Columbanus and his band – lives lived well – made the message they proclaimed a real and viable alternative to the ho-hum existence so many knew.
Why should it not be so in our own day?
Jesus called us first to “be” witnesses before we go out in His Name to “do” witness-bearing (Acts 1.8). This is key to effectiveness in your Personal Mission Field. It’s also the key to The Ailbe Community becoming a movement to reinvigorate churches all around the country and the world.
The harder we work at holiness, love, and mutual edification, the more powerful will be the message we proclaim.
People are looking for real-live examples of a lifestyle that really matters. Shall we show it to them?
Psalm 116.7-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: “All Praise to God Who Reigns Above”)
Full well the Lord has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
And dwell with them forever.
Afflicted, I believed His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
Use me, Lord, to build a community and network of people committed to living for You and proclaiming You to the world.
From the Mission Field
Dr. Stan Gale is a Member of the Board of Directors of The Fellowship of Ailbe, and a long-time friend. I asked him the other day how he’s handling all the snow they’ve had in West Chester, PA, and here’s what he wrote back: We have about 6 inches of snow here. Ordinarily, I’d be out shoveling but last month I tore a quadriceps muscle and am in a full leg brace. So the snow removal falls on Linda. Thankfully, my neighbor came over (on his own initiative) and cleared out our drive with his snow blower. At my church we are involved in a series of monthly challenges for 2015. The February challenge is praying for 5 neighbors, 5 minutes a day, for 5 weeks, using the acronym BLESS (Body, Labor, Emotional, Social, Spiritual). The neighbor who cleared my drive has been one of my five. I was able to speak of God when I called to thank him. Isn’t that exciting? Stand adds:Let see how God works as He responds to our prayers for this initiative of engaging believers in their Personal Mission Fields. What’s your story? What’s happening in your Personal Mission Field? Share it with me, and it might end up tagged to a Crosfigell. Send a gift in any amount to The Fellowship of Ailbe and we’ll send you A Field Guide to Mission to help you get going in your Personal Mission Field. Use the donate button here or at the website, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe. 19 Tyler Dr., Essex Junction, VT 05452.
By the way, Stan’s book, Warfare Witness, is one of the best extended guides to Personal Mission Field living. You can order a copy here: http://188.8.131.52/index.php/ministry-design/
Live well, beloved.
T. M. Moore, Principal