Unity and Justice – Prayers of the People in the Mission Field
A few years ago, a large banner hung in the entry to our St. John’s Church building, its message visible not to those on their way into the church but to those on their way out. It said, “You Are Now Entering the Mission Field.”
Although the banner is no longer there (something about letting in more daylight), as an ordained deacon I am reminded of that message every day. Those words are my marching orders. A vocational deacon in the Episcopal Church is the servant minister who keeps our brothers and sisters in Christ apprised about where God is at work in our neighborhood and our world, then enlists their help in accomplishing that work.
In truth, none of that should really be necessary because we are, all of us, from the time we are baptized, enlisted in the ministry of the Church through our Baptismal Covenant, the last three promises being, “Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?”, ”Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” and “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” The answer to all three is of course “I will, with God’s help.”
Those Baptismal promises commission us all as servant ministers for God in Christ, just as they encompass the very essence of our faith. But during these days of pandemic and economic distress and threats of blatant racial division, our faith is being sorely tested. Without our own regimen of communal worship and pastoral support, we may find ourselves untethered from the grounded faith on which we have depended. Where, then, IS God at work?
Well, this Sunday, August 16, at 4pm you can see God at work here in our community, in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot, 340 5th Av S., where you can join folks from a number of cultures and faith traditions who will gather to share their prayers, meditations, readings, art and music in a one-hour Faith Communities Service for Unity and Justice, hosted by the Greater Saint Cloud Faith Leaders.
Worshiping together with followers of Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Baha’I and other faiths, Florence Orionzi and I will take a part by leading a timely and relevant reading of The Prayers of the People, adapted from the Episcopal Litany for Social Justice from the Episcopal Church in the US. Nancy Dyson will be livestreaming the service on either her Facebook page or the SJEC Facebook page, or maybe both!
I do hope you can be there with us to share our love and support for ALL our neighbors as we pray together for a better community and a better world. As the flyer says, “Bring a chair, mask, umbrella – social distancing will be practiced. Weather permitting.” See you there?
Have a Blessed Week!