This quote from the prophet Isaiah was the title of the Vatican assessment of the synod reports of the various continents of the earth. It named concerns about groups on the margins of the church and called us to make room for them, hence figuratively enlarging our tent.
Here at St Frances and St Leonard, though, we have taken the Vatican’s call literally and put up a big tent on the soccer field at St Leonard. It’s for our joint mass this Pentecost Sunday. What started as a way to have mass during the time of Covid has become an annual event to celebrate the call of the Spirit for both of our parishes, together.
It can also serve as a sign to the neighborhood around us that we are willing to venture outside the walls of our church buildings to encounter the neighborhood around us. If we are truly to enlarge our tent we need to get to know our neighbors.
One way I’m doing that right now is by studying the demographic reports UofL has done of our neighborhoods, based on the 2020 Census. UofL is the agency that studies the census on behalf of the state. Now I’m not normally a numbers person, but I realize that these numbers can be a real help in understanding a great deal about the neighbors that the Spirit is calling us to reach out to. For instance, did you know that 51% of our neighbors live alone? What could that mean about how we reach out?
In any case, as we gather under the tent this weekend, let us pray that God’s Spirit come upon us, and help us to enlarge the tent that is the church.