Cow Hollow Church News
The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
The Jesus Way of Life
The Rev. David Lyle Erickson, Rector
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
In the winter of 2004, my life radically changed while I was attending a youth ministry conference. At that time I was a volunteer youth minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, working at a restaurant to pay my bills, and pursuing my lifelong (at the ripe age of 27) dream of being an actor. A priest at the church saw the potential in me for ministry, and invited me to go to the conference.
The keynote speaker’s main talk was an unpacking of Jesus’ story of the prodigal son and how it related to following Jesus today. How the son, realizing his life in the distant land was an absolute mess, made the choice to return to his father and become his father’s slave. The speaker knew that many of us saw a life of ministry, while meaningful, as a life of drudgery, routine, boredom, of slavery. What the son discovers is that upon returning to his father, he is not accepted as a slave, rather he is celebrated as a child, a full partner and participant in the Kingdom of God. The speaker wanted us to understand that the Jesus way of life, while challenging, was not a life of drudgery, but a life of absolute possibility, of adventure and discovery. It is the life that leads to the fullness of life, for us, and for the world. It was in that room, among thousands of people, that my eyes were opened to the wonderful adventure that is the Jesus way of life, and I made the decision to pursue God’s invitation into ministry.
Unfortunately, many people believe, and the church has at times incorrectly proclaimed, that following Jesus, while altruistic, is boring and dull. My friends, that has not been my experience at all, and it will not be our experience either. Over the upcoming weeks, months, and years, we will be exploring the depth and nature of the Kingdom of God, and what it means to live into the fullness of our potential as partners and participants in that Kingdom, as God’s children and Christ’s disciples.
Now let me be clear, while this is the good life, the best life, it is not the easy life, and there will be sacrifice. But remember, the root of the word sacrifice simply means “to make holy.” In discovering who we are, we will need to let go of who we are not and be open to receiving God’s purpose for us in making all things new.
I am excited to be joining with you on this journey into Jesus’ abundant life, the life he promises us, always. Indeed, this is a journey, there will be twists and turns, pit stops and mountain tops, and we will become our best selves, individually and collectively, so that the world may know Christ’s love and grace and be transformed. Let’s begin!