This past Sunday, our church set about writing a new mission statement. We have a new Priest-in-Charge, Mother Johanna, who is this delightful blend of Episcopalian mystic, Buddhist monk, and humorous sage. She radiates holiness without hitting one over the head with it.
After much group building, the congregation whittled down to five verbs: to love, to pray, to serve, to nourish, to welcome.
Mother Johanna desires a choice of three verbs. Many in the congregation desired many more, not understanding that in cases such as these, more words mean less. In the effort to precisely say everything all at once, we end up saying a great deal less.
Personally, I’m a fan of using just two: to love and to pray.
Every act of kindness, compassion, tolerance, hospitality, generosity, and so on is an act of love. Christians are commanded to love – everyone, regardless or race or creed or similarities or anything else. We are told to Love.
It’s really quite beautiful in its simplicity, and shockingly hard in reality, but there you have it. John 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.”
Sadly, a lot of churches and people using God’s name pervert the simplicity of the command. They twist it so they only have to love others who are just like them. But as the stories of the Samaritans and the tax collectors and the other rejects of society clearly show – it is not for us to judge who gets to be loved; we are to be loving.
To love. To pray.
That’s my mission.