I have recently found myself on a spiritual journey of sorts. I’m not sure where its leading or if in fact it is a journey at all, but it started about two years ago, with the Democratic primary process for the recent presidential election.
I have struggled all day. I was concerned with not alienating people, not taking sides, being pastoral. And so I held my tongue. The reality is that I am an ordained minister in the Christian Presbyterate (priesthood). I am 96 hands away from Jesus. My ordination vows included this promise: "Will you, in the exercise of your ministry, lead the people of God to faith in Jesus Christ, to participate in the life and work of the community, and to seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people?" Today I failed in that mission. Someone recently told me that as a man of God I needed to support the president-elect. That is only partly true. My ordination was to stand "In Persona Christi", in the person of Christ, and to share in the three-fold ministry of Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King. My vocation is not only sacramental and administrative, but prophetic. I am called to speak truth to power.
This week we who are in the Christian faith tradition celebrated All Saints Day. It’s a day we commemorate the lives of those people who have particularly shown through their life and witness what it means to be a faithful Christian. But are “saints” limited only to Christianity? Technically the term originated to described those who were “holy” (sanctus) in Christianity, but what if we applied that term more broadly to describe those people whose lives have shown as an example for us?
By the time this article is printed, New Light will have a new pastor. For three years, we’ve been led by Rev. Sherry Miller and Rev. Kelly Crenshaw. They have provided excellent leadership and have helped us deal with issues from our church’s past. Whether it’s an individual or an organization, we all have baggage. Maybe it’s the old “We’ve never done it that way before” line of thinking or possibly it’s the “My grandmother donated that widget, so it must stay where it is” reality. But, no matter what, these are issues that must be addressed in order to move forward.
REACHING OUT TO THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY?
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