The Rev. Theresa Cho, associate pastor at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in San Francisco and one of the most creative pastors I know who “gets it” when it comes to sharing the gospel with people of all ages, presented yesterday at the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for the Committee to Review Biennual Assemblies (make sure meeting every two years is working and how we might make improvements—internet anyone?). During that presenting she said,
but to live more recklessly, faithfully, and lovingly.”
It was a call to faithful dialogue about difficult, nuanced, and multi-faceted issues facing our global community today, let alone the church.
How often have I assumed I have “the” idea that will solve a problem? How often have you complained about someone else’s ideas, but struggled to come up with your own? We are not perfect (without blemish), but are made perfect (that is: whole, complete, full) through the love and grace of the One who Created all things and calls us into a relationship to continue co-creating. The basis of this relationship is that reckless, faithful love revealed in and through the one we call Jesus.
After re-engaging with many PC(USA) family the last couple of days, I am once again reminded why I spend the money and take the the time to come to a week of meetings after meetings: this is my family (including the crazy cousins that we welcome to the table regardless). These are the people who shape who I am as a human being, and shape my understanding of my place in God’s kingdom of hope and salvation.
I have long suggested that if we want to be safe, secure and whole in our lives, we must seek to help our neighbors are safe, secure, and whole in their lives. And I am not just referring to the ones we like—yes, the crazy cousin again. Jesus used language like “walking the second mile,” “give the cloak off your back,” “turn the other cheek,” etc. Each of these requires more cultural and exegetical unpacking, but I wonder if they really sum up the fact that our safety, security and wholeness is deeply connected to those around us—yes, even the crazy cousins in the human family. I can’t help but read this in the gospels of Jesus as well as the stories of the Hebrew scriptures and the warnings of the ancient prophets.
As we engage in our discussions this week, I remain hopeful that we will continue to do the hard work not of being perfect (error-less), but perfected (made whole) by the reckless, faithful, and loving God who, through this Jesus who died on the cross, calls us to do the same!
God of grace and mercy and many chances,
may our commissioners,
those charged with the task of discerning God’s hope and will for the church,
take risks for the sake of the gospel,
be faithful to your call on their lives,
and love with wild abandon as you have taught us,
especially the least of these.
And may we come to recognize that we might be that “crazy cousin” to someone else!