Sunday, May 3, 2009

Vocation Check-up

51 weeks ago, in one of my last posts before my hiatus, I wrote this:

My understanding of vocation may be shifting, by the way.
I still agree and am passionate about what I've said [about "being a minister"] - being a reminder [to others that they are ministers, too], equipper, and community-builder. But there's another element that's come to the surface in the last few years, an element that working in hospitals and hospices has helped to crystallize, as well as reading literature from the emerging church and my own Bible study.

I have seen too many men and women die feeling lonely and cut off from the church…too many people die without believing they are loved, or that God intended for them, for us all, to have lives of meaning and purpose - to know that we are of infinite value. I have watched people die who never got to the point where they trusted that.

My dream is to be a part of a church community that is not content to leave those needs in other hands. My dream is to be a part of a church that believes Jesus meant it when he said that whatever we have done for the least of these - feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, visiting the prisoners and the oppressed - whatever we have done for them, we have done for Christ.

And whatever we have not done for them, we have not done for Christ.

The fact is, the church is meant to be doing this work....

More true than ever. And hard to do. Churches, like every institution, take on a life of their own. It's completely possible to get so involved in maintaining the daily functioning of the group that you don't attend to things outside. It shouldn't be possible. But it is. And this is why we need church. For all the pit-falls of an organization, there's also a corresponding benefit. Church is doing what it's supposed to when the people you're with challenge and inspire you to reach out, open up (to God and neighbor), to dream and to experiment on ways to join God in the world.

If you're part of a church that doesn't do that, you may need to look for another.

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