Pastor's Corner: Rev. Joseph Shepley

Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).

The African impala can jump to a height of over ten feet and cover a distance of over thirty feet, yet can be kept in an enclosure with only a three-foot wall. They will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is not knowing where our feet will fall, yet taking the leap nonetheless.

Jesus didn’t say to the world, “go to church,” but rather to the church, “go to the world.” We, of course, certainly want people in our churches, yet the call to be sent into the unknown is our inescapable mission as Christians. Jericho invites us into the adventure of being guided to a hurting world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Transcending denominational boundaries, together we serve in unity, as Jesus prayed we would. And it is as we are on the journey with this singular focus on Jesus that relationships are fostered, resources shared and the leap of faith is seen.

It has been said that Christianity is not a spectator sport, and Jericho allows us to take this adage into a full-contact experience. Personally speaking, as a board member representing a participating church, it wasn’t until I was approached about becoming a mentor through Pathways Danbury that I began to experience the transforming power of serving through Jericho. As one fellow mentor said to me early on, as I clearly looked a bit nervous on my initial outing with my mentee: “Don’t worry, you won’t fail. Just keeping showing up.”

However, the Lord is sending us, by grace we keep showing up. We see it in the many ways Jericho serves our community and beyond. Is God calling you to step out in a new way?

Take a leap of faith. Just show up. God will handle the landing.

– The Rev. Joseph Shepley, Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookfield