I am going to re-post a piece of writing that it took me 32 years to complete. I wrote this piece first in 1974 and have been editing it and living life around it until my final draft which I posted May 1, 2008 in my “about” section of my blog. It is called Statement of Ministry and I wanted to give a “hats off” to myself for what a “right on” statement I wrote by sharing it again.
It is a bit longer than most posts but it is writing that I am proud I achieved.
“…To seek justice and love kindness and walk humbly with your God.” ~ Micah 6
“What does God require of you?” God requires of each of us to be our best selves and to serve life. We are designed to succeed in this life and to live out the discovery of our best self by acknowledging and receiving our gifts and talents, by preparing ourselves for our life’s journey. The goal of every human kind is to serve life.
Each new human who enters this world is driven to make connections in their brains and bodies between each cell and each new message. Without any DVD or motivational teacher or guru each new baby is busy making connections – 10 s of thousands of connections within themselves to turn their heads, roll over, give and receive a smile and learn to be separate entities in this world; how to survive on their own strength and on their own power. The Mother works to wrap that babe in swaddling and yet allow him or her time to wiggle and move and balance the growth between protection and outreach. Each Father perceives that there is brush and bramble in the pathway ahead and begins to clear the way around the home to strengthen the child and teach them to understand fear and to be the warrior spirit on the journey ahead.
Each individual must grow strong enough to overcome fear and to proceed on their pathway to serve life. Each individual needs to explore their environment and find their strongest traits and links to achieve peaceful warrior status and to step forth into the world to serve. Each individual is asked by God to dig deep within themselves and find what tasks, talents, and gifts are welded into their best selves/circuits and which will allow them to develop their usefulness to life. They must train and persevere and seek the truth of their action and through this process – procession, they will achieve wisdom and know GOD.
Course number 101 of life is to know one’s best self and skills to facilitate servicing this life. Ministry is about seeking God’s grace in each person, each system and each tree; allowing it to grow and flourish and to teach us all its lessons – interpreting each encounter with success or fear enabling the growing individual to know the truth. To keep learning and overcoming the fears and obstacles one encounters along the pathway is to serve life.
“To seek justice”: The greatest injustice of them all is to empower fear within the individual to immobilize their growth and distract them from the truth of their pathway to serve life. Distraction from God’s calling is so overwhelming and so tempting it is a devilish control devise – it is startling to witness and understand its number of forms, its remote control clicking divisiveness/defeat. Whenever we are distracted from our journey, ministry needs to help us find our calling again…needs to help us seek justice and bring us back to serving life – God’s creation.
I have always felt that the United Church of Christ has been a church centered around assisting the individual in understanding their gifts from God and calling each one to act upon those gifts in their celebration community and within their greater community. That it is not enough to learn and study but that one must reach out and assist others in the community who have not realized that they have gifts and talents to share. The UCC does not reach out to control or condemn but to allow the gifts to be acknowledged and with nourishment they might bloom into a diverse, creative community spirit to serve life and celebrate the creation.
The early pilgrims to the United States, who were Congregationalists, were the providers of governance and boundaries to the developing communities on these shores. They were people who knew how to lead and had strategies to cope with how people develop community. These are the historic figures of the UCC community today. These were people who resisted being controlled by an empire and a kingly system and they knew order and politics. They were seeking justice for their beliefs and they called upon themselves to be their best. They persevered and they survived and they challenged themselves to keep learning new ways to perceive and grow. The UCC community is always evolving and challenging itself with new and developing realizations of injustices within the community and envisioning new ways to seek and create just solutions.
When the astronauts sent us pictures of Earth, the UCC community was challenged to see injustice as a global issue and envision a more just future. To minister to a global community is to listen, to see, to hear, to learn, to empower each gift and talent to serve God’s creation with peaceful resolution.
“To love kindness”: Kindness is to find truth by learning and manifesting the lessons for serving life. Kindness is God’s voice. It is the beauty of each dawn and the bird ’s cacophony of spring filled voice and the roar of wind breaking the tree limbs – it is the hope and promise of each rescuers words and outstretched hand. It is the escape from the tomb of what is unknown or is dark despair; the recognition of enlightenment and clear understanding of what it is that produces fear. Kindness is the constant voice of nature of each bud emerging and snow melting drop in a mountain stream and waters rising and creating new fertile ground. Kindness is the human knowledge and interpretation about how to serve life and encourage its best self to grow. Empowering every living being to hear their truth; finding fearless warrior actions is to serve life. Kindness is ministry which recognizes the beauty of each living entity, frees God’s call to be made manifest in its wisdom and opens pathways that serve all of creation. Ministry is seeing the teacher-rabbi in each individual and acknowledging the lessons learned there. Ministry is integrating and interpreting the 10s of thousands of connections which reveal the way – the forward path to serve God’s creation. Kindness is the minister of healing, promise and hope.
“And walk humbly with your God”: Walk, pray, think, read, talk, contemplate, meditate, run, sing, listen, dance, gather together, cry, twirl, bow, laugh – do what ever action it takes to keep hearing God’s call – then listen with the greatest integrity to develop your plan of action, to discover the wisest warrior actions, and step forth into this creation – move forward on one’s own path to serve life. Ministry is to learn the lessons of the journey, understand the lessons of those who have traveled this way before, conquer fear, and keep listening to the still small voice step by step serving life. Ministry is the realization of our distractions and missteps and the recovery to our life’s pathway – serving up forgiveness and humility to all of God’s creation –a state of grace. Ministry is to serve the miracle of life and God’s creation.
What does God require of you? To seek justice, to love kindness and walk humbly with your God.