Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Long View

The Long View

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.

Attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero


DS said...

Thanks Rach

Wow that's some good Latin American $*%^!

I love Romero but hadn't read this before. No wonder they killed him this Kingdom stuff could change the world! (Romero/Jesus?).

Here's a chilling / inspiring Romero quote -

Oscar Romero gave his last homily on March 24. Moments before a sharpshooter felled him, reflecting on scripture, he said, "One must not love oneself so much, as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us, and those that fend off danger will lose their lives."

It is striking that talk of querying the straight 'bunker down for the mother ship' view of the future has led to such hope filled, call to humble action type stuff. I have to ask myself what was Jesus trying to provoke in his parables of what was to come- maybe a good engage topic there?

mark said...

Good to see you posting, Rache!

I like the approach Romero expresses here and, like Romero, find it liberating, as well as humble. It reminds me of what John Vincent calls "kingdom moments" (which makes it sound like a chocolate bar!) The idea that the kingdom is an event, a moment, a happening, that captures something of what the kingdom is about.

I certainly think it contrasts with the triumphant, victory language you often hear - the kind of language that makes me feel guilty for not being so optimistic about the arrival of the kingdom... or maybe I am just a grumpy old man!