What the church can learn from mothers has relevance to the themes of this blog, I would say. It takes immense courage to embark upon the responsibility of being a mother. And the unity of the mother and child is an image that has been used in Christian tradition to capture the connection between the faith community and believers.
It is a privilege to be Jesus’ arms and legs in this world. At the same time, our spirits can falter at the challenge of sharing our faith in Jesus Christ. For many of us it is not something we ever thought would be needed in our neighborhood. We are shocked how often now those we know have no knowledge or experience of God in Christ or had a bad experience with the church. It takes courage to witness—this prayer becomes ours.
I am excited to share another guest post with you. This one comes from a dear friend, Wayne Peck, who is pastor of Community House Church. In this post, Wayne talks about the ministry of Sasan Tavassoli, who he met while visiting Peachtree Church in Atlanta. As Wayne told me the story of Sasan’s ministry of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims in Iran, I was amazed.
Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba and Doreen Duba sent this prayer to us after being reminded of it by Thomas Merton’s prayer posted on March 18, 2012. It has a similar theme of asking for courage to follow unknown paths, exactly what we are all doing as we reform into the PCUSA that is to be. It is one of the prayers suggested at the end of Morning Prayer in The Book of Common Worship.
Facing addiction and overcoming it takes great courage. Today, I’d like to share with you a story of courage from my friend, James, a Presbyterian ruling elder and a recovering addict. Thanks to another friend, Jan Leo at the Community House Presbyterian Church, I’m able to share a recording of James telling his story in his own words.
Bullying is a national dilemma. Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. While everyone agrees that students deserve to learn in a safe school environment, bullying, over the last decade, has proven to be an intractable predicament. If we listen, young adults often give us a window on how and why bullying occurs. They show us ways to confront bullying that turn unsafe environments into generous learning communities that practice empathy and compassion.
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.
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.
Courage is definitely called for these days if the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is truly to be the people of God in Christ with joy and power. Courage is a gift that the Holy Spirit places before us every morning, hoping so lovingly that we will accept it. When we do, we will find in both the routines and the surprises of each day the opportunity to risk everything to proclaim Christ in word and deed.