Ground Breaking Ceremony
All Saints Church
May 19, 2001
Beloved in Christ: we gather together today for a very special occasion. Here (or not far from here), by the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, the blessed Parish of All Saints, under the able leadership of Fr. Athanasius Wilson, will begin to build a holy temple. We are here today to celebrate, and to consecrate the “breaking of the ground” upon which this Church will be built. And, in doing so, I bring with me the greetings and congratulations of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and all the Auxiliary Bishops of our God-protected Archdiocese.
This is a joyous and happy day. The prayers and thoughts of all gathered here are filled with anticipation as we look forward to the completion of this Church. The reality of a new and beautiful Temple consecrated to God is not very far away. Indeed, within your hearts and minds you must already be living the completion of this Holy Temple. You must see, with eyes of faith, what God has set before you as a thing already done. God has placed within you a wonderful vision. Now, I urge you, by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, to move forward in faith and work out the vision’s reality in your midst.
There are few who realize what possibilities are locked up within them until some necessity compels them to attempt something they have always considered impossible. When Michelangelo was ordered to decorate the Sistine Chapel, he flatly refused. He had never done any work of that kind, and said he could not do it. But he was told his refusal would not be accepted. When he discovered that there was no alternative without unpleasant consequences, he mixed his colors and went to work. And thus came into being one of the world’s finest painting masterpieces.
The writer of the Proverbs tells us that “without a vision, the people perish.” But when the people have vision – when they are called by God and respond in faith to His calling – they enter into the sacramental life of the Church – a life consecrated to God.
It is godly-vision lived out that brings with it a surprising affirmation: “Behold, I make all things new,” Christ tells us. This remaking of ourselves and of our time into newness is not to be relegated into the future, somewhere beyond human history. Rather, it is the operation of the Holy Spirit in our midst, here and now.
When God gives a vision to His people, and the people in return begin to live that vision – they start to work, they become energized, they become spiritually stronger, they become more faithful, and, as a consequence, they achieve greater things than they ever thought possible. And, I might add, they begin to live in the Kingdom of God while still on this earth.
This is what today represents: a movement toward the Kingdom; a larger step toward your vision’s fulfillment. You have taken seriously the calling of God; you have reached inside yourselves and draw forth from that spring of living water supplied by Christ. You must remember as you move forward: that spring never runs dry. I urge you to constantly return there for renewal of your vision and courage.
Therefore, Beloved, I encourage you to continue with firm resolution to fulfill what you have begun. Just as a farmer must break up the ground to plant his seed in order to obtain a bountiful crop; so today we break up this ground to plant a Church. The English word for “Church” is derived from the Greek “kyriakon” meaning something belonging to the Lord. You are, indeed, planting something belonging to God – Who always reaps bountifully of His own. With His unlimited help, you will succeed.
May His great and rich blessing continue to lift you up to every good and godly work. AMEN.