Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus Christ!
I leave as a commissioner to the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Portland, Oregon on June 17th and will return on June 26th. This is an opportunity to do mission within our own denomination. The commissioning yesterday included the following call to discipleship:
We are called by God to be the church of Jesus Christ,
a sign in the world today of what God intends for all humankind.
The great ends of the church are
the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
the maintenance of divine worship;
the preservation of the truth;
the promotion of social righteousness;
and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
Earlier in the meeting we had prayed as follows:
Eternal God, it helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
Your kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is your work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
We confess before you:
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
Remind us what we are about:
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
Help us to accept we cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
Let this reality enable us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for your grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own, but yours alone.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
- “A Step Along the Way” adapted from Bishop Ken Unterer, 1979
And so I will begin vacation after returning home from General Assembly. Like taking a Sabbath day each week, a vacation is a reminder that we cannot do everything for we are not the Father, Son, or the Holy Spirit. I would encourage you to remember that the call to discipleship is for you all and encourage you to make this prayer your prayer as well.