This passage is what is known as the Great Commission. It is the call from Jesus to spread His message and deeds into the time and place that we are in, today. If we, as Christians, are to fulfill this commission, we must be relevant to the concerns of our time, using any tools that we can, despite the obstacles that may be in our way, and drawing upon our faith that Jesus walks with us in this quest.
Perhaps you know this prayer. We used it responsively a few weeks ago in Sunday worship at my church. It is an expression of faith and trust in God that can inspire these in us when our hearts falter. From this trust grows the courage we need to face all the challenges before us.
I have read, reflected and prayed over Scripture most every day of my adult life. This commitment, woven together with the experiences of my life’s journey – such as marriage, motherhood and my Christian education and service – has moved me closer to knowing God. And yet, as a Presbyterian, I know that I alone could never fully discern God’s mind or will.
In the Book of Amos, the Lord says to Israel: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). This verse about the Lord’s justice serves as the foundation for the Amos 5:24 Ministry Team, one of the Justice Ministry Teams in my presbytery.
This song has been my companion in some of the most troubled times of my life. If it is fair to say that right now is a troubled time in the Presbyterian Chuch (U.S.A.) then this prayer can uphold us as we faithfully walk the path we are able to see before us as a community in Christ.
I believe that one way Christ as our unity becomes real in this world is through our service to the needy. It’s something I’ve heard often from our young people in the church, with their passionate desire for us all to move beyond our disagreements and simply get to work helping others.
I met George Hunsinger years ago, when I was a seminary student at Yale and he was a teaching assistant in religious studies there. I confess I was a little intimidated by George back then, but we met again a few years ago and I found we share a passion for justice. George is now a Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and is someone I consider a good friend.
The intensity of this prayer seems way beyond the routines and commitments of my life. And yet, to proclaim the Gospel in our time and place may, indeed, need such faith. We can pray for this devotion to be evident in our church and then see what happens. God could answer our prayer with amazing activity among us.
Today I want to share with you a strong sense of call: the call to stand for moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) It is clear that we are in a crucial moment in the church. To move forward together, we must find ways to live as the Body of Christ with power and proclaim the Gospel with joy and courage. This is what we all want to do and I feel that my call is to help move the church in this direction.
As I have pondered this notion of “standing for moderator,” another meaning of the phrase has emerged for me: that the whole church stand for the office of the moderator. That means, for me, that we all embody the leadership, unity, and hope that are so central to our church family and our Presbyterian tradition. If you have prayers, stories, or a vision for our unity, please share them with me.