This is Part 5 of a fifteen-part series called “The Vision of an Ideal Parish” based on an article by Dr. Peter Williamson published in 2016. This series is intended to return us to our original Faith Forward Vision.

Popcorn is a funny little food. Good corn gets so old that it completely hardens with a seemingly impenetrable shell. But if you take that same corn and subject it to heat, the inside of the kernel gets so hot-and-bothered that not even the hard shell can contain the pressure! Then pop-you've got popcorn! What was once so hard you could not bite it without chipping a tooth now is so soft you could smoosh it with your fingers.

As weird as this sounds, the good news is a lot like popcorn. Jesus Christ is that "good corn." He is life and he entered our world. Then, because He "became like us in all things but sin," (Heb 4:15) He chose to die and enter a tomb. Like popcorn inside a seemingly-impenetrable shell, Jesus entered seemingly-impenetrable death. But something happened on the inside of that "shell" of a tomb. Jesus descended into hell to free all the Just from the foundation of the world up to his own day. The excitement among the Just grew to such a fever pitch that the gates of hell could no longer contain the joy of salvation. Then pop-the Resurrection of the Dead! What was once a sealed tomb became a broken shell. What was once death became life. What was once a period became an ellipses.

This is our faith! This is the Good News. "Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again." We call this Good News the "Kerygma." The Kerygma is literally the core "kernel" of the truth of the Gospel. It is the simple phrase that contains every article of faith in itself. It is the basic message of the Gospel. And like popcorn, it contains a hidden power within that, when placed in the right conditions, explodes with a power able to convert souls. An ideal parish is the perfect condition for this explosion.

We each need to be able to speak the Kerygma, and we can remember it by remembering that we are "Saved by G.R.A.C.E." (Eph 2:8). God's love…Redeems us from sin so that…through the Advent of Christ…all who Confess his name…may receive Eternal life. Or as the Bible summarizes:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Just like popcorn is a funny little food, kerygma is a funny little word. But the thing to remember is this - you'll be surprised by its power to save.

Father Jarrod Lies, Pastor