Skip to main content
Uncategorized

Deacon’s Blog, May 2024

By May 21, 2024No Comments

Pay Attention! Pay Attention! Pay Attention!

According to Kannon Do, the phrase “Attention, Attention, Pay Attention” comes from a story about a minister who visited a Zen master for advice on how to manage unruly people. The master wrote the symbol for “Attention” and the minister became angry and demanded more wisdom. The master then wrote “Attention, Attention”. The story may mean that attention can help us understand how things really are, see that all things share fundamental qualities, and pay attention to people in our lives. D.T.Suzuki

 

The Holy Spirit is often sending her wisdom in my direction, the wind blows where she may, and most of the time, I pay attention, I have learned that the next message you need is always where you are.  At the Mission Area Gathering a few weeks back Bishop Loya was sharing his often prophetic wisdom. Pay Attention! He is such a blessing to ECMN.  I took notes, and share these pearls with you:

The Church exists not to survive, the church exists to ask Jesus questions.

How might we all get out of the boat, referring to Peter, and get into the water with Jesus? I would add, get out of the pews and into the public forums.

When a church grows in numbers the congregation is happy to have more people to pay the bills and take care of the building.

Imagine a different response, that when the church grows in numbers, the congregation is happy to have more people to talk about Jesus and minister to the world.

They have been speaking to me ever since… Pay Attention!

We are living in complicated, divided times. White Christian nationalism is on the rise and groups and movements are active and growing that exploit the name of Jesus to advocate for restoring white, American, predominantly male privilege. These groups are focused upon political agendas to regain a perceived lost status through multiple authoritarian means, claiming loudly that Jesus supports their values. Values which I believe blatantly contrast with His teachings and the narratives of scripture. Most are profound misrepresentations; many secular Americans mistakenly believe this is what Christian Values represent.

We are called to emphatically refute these claims and ensure that our ongoing ministries are unapologetically, joyfully, and lovingly done in Jesus’ name:  caring for the poor, embracing those on the margins, pursuing racial justice in relationship, repatriation, and healing, welcoming with open arms those fleeing unimaginable horrors, affirming the dignity of LGBTQ+ persons, healing and protecting creation.

The Churches mission and ministries are not exclusive to clergy. Following Jesus Way of Love is the ministry of the baptized, the people of the Baptismal Covenant: building bridges, removing walls, actively engaging in reconciliation, reparation, and healing.  We are all called, and we do promise, with God’s help, to inspire, empower, and exhort all believers to witness to the Way of Love, the Way of Jesus, in our daily lives.

The gospel of Jesus transcends partisanship, but it is inherently political. We are not a political party at prayer; the good news of Jesus and our proclamation always concerns the real world and how The Creators resources are managed, distributed, and shared. We are all called to participate in systems of government that share the values we understand most reflect the values of the Way of Love.

In our polarized culture, we are called by the Holy Spirit and provided the opportunity to offer a third way, not aligned with left or right, but rooted in Creation and Jesus’ way of love. Our mission and ministry should be grounded in Jesus’ life and teachings, and the scripture’s witness to God’s nature filled with the Holy Spirit, at work in the world. As you navigate the polarization in your own contexts, remain rooted in Jesus, anchored in the scriptures, fed by creation, empowered by she the Holy Spirit.

Our confessions and repentance are important, but reconciliation couples’ words with action. As bridge builders our mission is to hold our human organizations, governments, churches, places of employment to account. It is implied in our baptismal covenant to speak the truth and take action, and to call and assist to change directions through words, action, and yes prayers. True reconciliation does not stop at repentance but righting the wrong.

The ministry of the baptized, the Way of Love, involves all of us connected to each other, building bridges where there are divides, removing walls that separate us, and embodying  the love and justice of The Holy Trinity in every aspect of our lives. Let us boldly and fearlessly reclaim the true message, to live out Creations call to love and serve one another and all of creation, as Jesus loves us.

As our dear bishop suggests, BE BOLD, get out of the boat into the water, with Jesus. Let us together have more conversations about Jesus, even with those with whom we disagree, and commit together to heal our broken world.  Let us together engage with the ministries that reflect the values of this blessed community: Casa Maria, First Nation’s Kitchen, Good Courage Farm, immigrants and refugees, Urban Homework’s, Haitian teachers.

They will know we are Christians by our love….

Pay Attention!

Shalom, Rex