Offering a ‘First Vision’

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, June 7, 2020

By: David May, Rector

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” – II Timothy 1:7

In my reflection this past Monday, I offered a first set of thoughts about how this world of ours has been broken open. Have mercy! We are and have been on a long journey in the wilderness as a community, as a nation and a world, living through a worldwide pandemic. And now, the killing of George Floyd while in police custody has ignited an outpouring of pain and lament and anger throughout our nation, and indeed now worldwide. John Lennon wrote a song that includes: “Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed.”

But this is the day that the Lord has made. This is the day we pray that we may be the hands and heart of Jesus in this world. We pray that God’s good news of grace may be heard in each of our own souls so that we will have a word of grace to speak for a world so desperate to hear a word that brings peace, mercy, love, and justice.

In Monday’s letter I said, I would be offering ‘a first vision’ of how we may respond to a world that has been broken open. I’m not sure what I have to offer lives up to a word like ‘vision’ but here are my thoughts.

As I have sat with this verse from Second Timothy, three thoughts have come into view.

First, times like we are living in right now are when we can be especially open to the Spirit. When we are most in need, when we sense deeply how little we can actually control, our trust in God becomes vital in a way that we may have never known before. Our brother in the faith, the Apostle Paul – that extraordinary and sometimes confounding child of God – understood well, that in our weakness, we are strong through the grace of God. The deep Spirit work of this time may be to let be what we cannot control, trusting fully in God’s grace and wisdom. This kind of trust probably does not know what the outcomes will be but still trusts God with that.

Second is to find ways to connect with people or organizations where you believe God is calling you. Social media is filled up – way too filled up for me – with suggestions about ‘what to do.’ The Spirit will lead you. My suggestion is that if you know nothing about Richmond Hill, it is a good place to start. Richmond Hill was founded in 1987 and its mission is “to seek God’s healing of Metropolitan Richmond through prayer, hospitality, racial reconciliation and spiritual development.” Work, in the Spirit, has been going on there for a long time and a community of people are already there worshipping, praying, learning, and taking action.

And third, I will offer a series of teaching on the Christian moral life. I am afraid we sometimes feel like we have been left on our own to figure out for ourselves what is right and what is wrong and how we are to live. Christian Ethics and Christian Moral Theology are two rich, noble, living disciplines with great wisdom to share. I don’t know how we will offer these sessions. It may be Zoom calls or webinars, or as prerecorded pieces or as written offerings, or all of the above. But the great Ashley Cameron has assured me that it is her job to figure out and she will help!

There is work for us to do. And it is hard work. At times like these, I think Jesus’ persistent words, ‘you must lose your life to gain it’ become real. But “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”

I thank God for you. And I thank God for this time we have been given to bear witness to the cause of Christ in this world, and for our calling to be citizens of his coming Kingdom of peace, mercy, justice, and love.