Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus

                                                          Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on, hold on. 

In the Fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus says, ‘Abide in me, as I abide in you... I am the vine, you are the branches... Those who abide in me, and I in them, bear much fruit… As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you… Abide in my love…’ 

During the Lenten Supper Program this past Wednesday evening, we listened to a powerful message from our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, about “The Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus Centered Life.” (Bishop Michael Curry sermon - General Convention, July 5th, 2018 in Austin Texas) 

Bishop Curry reminds us of Jesus’ words… ‘How will the world know that you are my disciples? That you love one another…’ Bishop Curry continues, ‘Love is the Way. Love is the only Way. Those who follow in the way of Jesus follow in the way of unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial love, and that kind of love can change the world. Yet, the question remains, how can we get to this place of love? 

Bishop Curry recites inspiring lyrics from one of his favorite Gospel hymns: ‘I got my hand on the Gospel plow. Wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now. Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on, hold on. Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on…’ 

Even when uncertainty and ambiguity surround us like a storm, Bishop Curry reminds us of the significance of what it means to abide 

in Jesus. 


While the picture above is intended to add a little humor, this is a powerful image depicting Matthew 14 of what it means to abide in Jesus. The disciples were out on the water in the middle of the night, struggling to keep their boat from sinking; fighting against the wind and the crashing waves when Jesus appears. 

I urge you to take note of Jesus’ calm presence on the water; hand outstretched to Peter... Peter was on the water walking towards Jesus, until Peter shifts his focus away from Jesus back to the storm, and becomes overwhelmed with fear at the chaos that surrounds him; and Peter begins to sink. 

Keep your eyes on the prize, and hold on. If you want to know how to walk through a storm, says Bishop Curry, keep your eyes fixated on Jesus, on his teachings, and on his spirit… Abide with Jesus. Dwell with Jesus. Live in Jesus. Throw yourself into the arms of Jesus and do not look away. 

This movement, ‘The Way of Love,’ is nothing new. The ‘Seven Practices for a Jesus Centered Life,’ are nothing new. We already have what we need in the tradition of the church and have for centuries. ‘Tried, tested, and proved,’ as Bishop Curry says. This is about developing and following a rule of life in the love of Christ; a set of spiritual practices to help us find and strengthen a deeper embrace to abide in our loving God.