Pastor’s Blog for November: Step back and take a long view of the Kingdom

With our study of Old Testament prophets this fall we can also look at today’s world and discern the same destructive sins in our own time as in the 6th – 8th centuries BC. The Bible is clear that God wants God’s people to be part of the promised healing and restoration, doing all we can to put God first, eliminate evil and practice good, in the name of Jesus. But the number of troubling issues in our global society can be overwhelming, and while we must continue to grow and deepen our courage and competence in responding biblically, I want to encourage us – the OCC family – that we already do several things that address justice and equality in Jesus’ name. I believe God is pleased with our progress, even as there is always more to learn.

The OT prophets’ beautiful and hopeful passages of healing and restoration look years into the future. Deep problems do not go away quickly, and the best thing we can do to go the distance is to be authentic and imperfect growing disciples of Christ in our life together of service to Christ.

I appreciate the following writing by the new Catholic saint, the late Archbishop of El Salvador Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980, one day after he spoke critically of his country and church, over massive injustices towards the poor. Romero suggests that humility, perspective, and a “sacred pace” is needed, as we serve God’s great purposes in the world:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.” (By St. Oscar Romero).

See you in church! Pastor Nancy Ebner