Today was the most challenging day for me so far. It was also a good day. I will speak to one thing that was discussed in our committee today and that was on recommending the Belhar Confession to be sent to Presbyteries for vote to be added to our book of confessions.
My frustration was this, there is a complacency in the church. We as a denomination are really good at pushing things under the rug and putting them off. And that is what many in the committee wanted to do and it is my fear that this is true throughout the denomination. I was also frustrated that I did not get the opportunity to express my opinion yet others continually had opportunity to speak and speak and speak, finally after saying something about the recognition of those who had not spoken during a break it was too late and time to vote. So I was a little upset that discussion was squashed and there were others besides me who had something to say but yet a few were left to dominate the discussion.
So reflecting on that experience I think about 2 statements the confession makes, in the second section it says this,
-that Christ's work of reconciliation is made manifest in the church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another;
-that unity is, therefore, both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ; that through the working of God's Spirit it is a binding force, yet simultaneously a reality which must be earnestly pursued and sought; one which the people of God must continually be built up to attain;"
The church has expressed many times over the last few days that something needs to change, that we need to move forward and continue to be relevant in the here and now. This confession of Belhar calls for unity and reconciliation not just within our own denomination but unity in Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, the only one in which this unity can come. This confession is bold, there is no doubt about it, it calls for something radical and difficult. But what does it say to the world when we stand together as a church and say that we are willing and committed to stand together in the world around us for unity and reconciliation of all of God's people, all around the world, so that we can all stand hand in hand against the injustices of the world, so that we can be the voice of the voiceless, the hope to the the hopeless, and that we seek the wholeness of all people in a broken and unjust world?
If we can stand together on the boldly in the here and now (not 2, 4, or 6 years from now) but NOW and confess together that we are one body, united by Christ, reconciled to God and one another through Christ, and that Christ alone is head of the Church...we will become the church that stands relative for all time, we will be the church that serves the world around us as Christ would have us do, and we will become a church that makes a difference.
Obviously the Belhar confession has spoken to me, and mostly because of the awesome privelage of working with other young preachers from many denominational backrounds. We are working in unity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to celebrate that Gospel. I do believe that it is a gift and an obligation that is set before us as a Church, to work for the unity and reconciliation that we so desperately need. Not that we agree on every issue, but that we agree on one thing, Jesus Christ is head of the Church, Lord of our lives, and calls us to work towards unity and reconciliation with God and one another.
I continue to keep this in my prayers and look forward, hopefully, to the opportunity to share my thoughts with the entire assembly when it comes before us.
Today was also awesome because I got to catch up with an old friend...old not in his age...well maybe that too...but none the less it was great to see a familiar face of a friend who has meant so much to me in my discernment process. Someone who has encouraged me along the way, pushed me, challenged me, prayed for and with me, and listened to me. God is so good to providing us with people in our lives who care enough to reach out and believe in us when we often do not believe in ourselves. I am thankful for Chris and for him claiming me as one of his own children (I don't know if he's really sure he wants to do that), for showing me the love of Christ in practical ways, for believing in me, for stretching me, and for letting me be myself. He is just one reminder of many people who have been supportive throughout my lifetime, and a reminder of how connected we are as Presbyterians to come to this place and connect again with one another to remember the times we had and look forward to the times to come. I pray that he continues to do the work he is called to do and that he is encouraged as much as he encourages me.
Now it is time that I encourage my body by going to bed because I am absolutely worn out and sore. Sorry no picture today, I'm not patient enough to upload one tonight...hence why I need the sleep :D
Tomorrow looks to be an easier day than today ;D...for that I am thankful...