The following is what I shared with my parish in our weekly Epistle:
It may be hard to imagine, but there are actually times in my life as a minister of the Gospel where I just don’t know what to say. Witnessing the events from Wednesday at our nation’s capital has brought me to that place again. I am sure you know what I mean. That sickening feeling, that “can this really be happening” moment when your brain tries to convince you this is not possibly real. I know I cannot stay stuck there, but honestly it is hard not to.
And then I remember my ordination vows, which include these words:
As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. You are to preach, to declare God’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God’s blessing…In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.
“Strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.”
I said yes to those vows almost 20 years ago. I am certain I have fallen short in fulfilling them on many occasions. For this occasion, I am asking God, just how do I do this? And God responds, “you already know the answer. You can’t, except through me. It’s time to pray.”
So, I am calling us to pray. Pray fervently, pray often, pray with words and with silence. Let us seek God’s face, God’s will, God’s grace, God’s wisdom, for ourselves and all others, to truly “care alike” for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor; and especially for all those without words. Will you join me? We can start with this prayer from our prayer book. And remember my friends, God loves you and I do too. It’s Epiphany. The light has come.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Shortly after writing this and sending it to my parishioners, we received this message from our Bishop, The Rt. Reverend Russell Kendrick. It amazed me how closely connected our thoughts were. Maybe the Holy Spirit is in the midst of this after all? Click the link to read his excellent post: