St. Paul tells us that we should be acquainted with the sacred writings because “all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2Tim.3:16-17). As an Anglican church, the Bible is at the heart of everything we do, be it in our times of Morning and Evening Prayer, in our Sunday Services, or in times of private devotion. We believe that a day should not go by without reading the Scriptures, because we know that by them we are given life (Jhn.6:63; Deut.8:3; cf.Gen.2:7). We believe there is power in God’s Word, and when we believe it and engage it, it begins to engage us, breathing into our souls God’s breath of life.
Unlike the activities of our lives that are inconsequential and have no purpose (i.e., recreation, leisure, etc.), time spent with God nourishes and enlivens the soul rather than leaving it unsatisfied and starved. Think about your own life and what you have filled your time with over the years. Think of the time and money you have given to sport teams. Think of all the “stuff” you have purchased thinking that it would provide you with joy. Think about all the time and money you have put into weekend recreation. Has any of this added to your life? If we are honest, we would have to agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes that “all is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” (Eccl.1:2-3).
Understanding this, we as a community strive to build our lives upon the solid foundation of God’s Word (Matt.7:24), because we know that through the Holy Scriptures God’s Holy Spirit empowers us to be all that God desires us to be. All other things, which we try to acquire and spend time on, cannot in and of themselves enrich our lives, but rather by being nourished by God through His Word, we can learn to rightly enjoy and find happiness through such things.
All the things of this life are meant to be enjoyed, but joy itself is not to be found within them. The joy and experiences we gain from such things is actually coming from God, through them. All the good things of life should be understood as a gift from God (Jms.1:17), but when these gifts are separated from Him, as the Giver, they can offer no meaning or reward.
Now there are some things which God has set aside so to provide a more powerful and absolute means to give us such blessings, and the Christian Church refers to these as God’s holy Sacraments. Two of them (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) were instituted by Jesus himself, and five others (Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony, Ordination, and Anointing) have shown themselves effectual over the centuries. Consequently, we at St. Francis utilize these gifts of God
in our spiritual journeys towards Christ-likeness, receiving them in faith that God will provide the nourishment our souls and bodies need in order to “live a godly, righteous, and sober life” to His glory (BCP, p.24).