May 24, 2020 - Pastor Message05/18/2021
THE YEAR OF DISCIPLESHIP CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP (CONT.)
“First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings, and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:14).
This Memorial Day weekend, we as a nation pause to remember the men and women of our armed forces who have given their lives in the service of our country. This weekend also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on how we as Christian leaders are called to serve our country by our participation in civic life. While some are called to do this by taking up arms in our nation’s defense, most are called to do so in other ways. Whether exercising our right to vote, participating in local service organizations like Kuhl Hose volunteer fire department, leading community service activities, or countless other ways, we Christians are all called to leadership in our civic community.
Like all Christian leadership, our civic lives must be governed by our commitment to discerning and carrying out God’s will. God desires that everyone hear the call to salvation in his Son, Jesus, and our participation in public life can be an effective means of ensuring this. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding of our nation’s tradition of the separation of church and state and our own tendency to treat our faith as a strictly private affair have often limited our efforts in this regard. We need to remember that our public life, like every aspect of our lives, needs to be a lamp on a lampstand, not under a bushel basket, shining the light of Christ for others.
This is accomplished best not by beating people over the head with a Bible but by serving others as the least and servant of all. Too many people see the public forum as a means of serving themselves and their own personal interests. Christian leaders see things differently, knowing that our interest, eternal salvation, is accomplished by seeking the salvation of others, beginning with seeking their wellbeing in this life. That task requires that we get to know our neighbors and their needs, and that they get to know and trust us, both of which are assisted by spending time with our neighbors in public life.
Finally, Christian leaders do not give in to discouragement when we meet opposition in public life. Jesus promised his disciples that the world would hate us because they prefer the darkness, but he also promised us that we would triumph over the world, just as he did in the resurrection. That is the reason for our hope and the fuel that keeps us going, shining Christ’s light all the brighter for the darkness gathered against us. We can never thank enough the men and women of our armed forces who faced down the ultimate darkness, death, in our country’s service. May their example inspire us to do our part as Christian leaders in civic life today.
Fr. Marc Stockton