The Rev. Megan Dembi
St. Thomas, Morgantown
‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and throwkn into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
I’m sure a lot of you have been facing similar questions to the ones I’ve been asked by parishioners about the diocesan pilgrimage-the most common one being “Why are we doing this?” Well I decided to turn the tables and have a parish-wide meeting about what everyone WANTED the point of this pilgrimage to be. Admittedly, part of the motivation for doing this was because the pilgrimage process has been intentionally open about what our goals might be so I knew my answers would be lacking, but I still thought this meeting would be a good idea regardless. Anyway, once the meeting started, a lot of the typical responses you might expect came up-we want more young people in our churches, we want more people in our churches in general, we want a bigger budget. But after delving deeper, what people wanted tended to actually boil down to a few key things. My parishioners wanted to figure out ways they could help people, and ways they could share the faith that was so important to them with others that might benefit from it. They wanted to bear good fruits, and show others that they could do the same. And I think this motivation is at the heart of what we are doing. Because I don’t think many of us would be engaging in this process if we didn’t think we could try to find ways to better ourselves, better our church, and better our world-displaying to others the good fruits that Christians bring into the world rather than the thorns some of our brothers and sisters seem more apt to create. Because at the end of the day, a church can have thousands of members and yet bear more thorns than good fruit. Our goal is not about numbers, yet I believe bearing good fruits will attract others, because people will know by their fruits who those are who are truly following Christ.