PIF Thoughts (in progress) #4
In ministry with every age group, every demographic, I’m struck by the frequency with which I encounter people who don’t know who they are. I’m not speaking of people who have amnesia; I am referring to those who have never learned or who have forgotten (perhaps through the difficult or tragic circumstances of their lives) that they are the beloved children of a gracious God.
Several years ago, the book “The Shack” caused quite a stir by its sudden and almost urgent popularity, but I was not surprised. The millions of readers who kept this book on the New York Times bestseller list testify to the fact that we are starving for the understanding that God loves us, that God comes to us, that God does not give up on us.
God loves us.
God comes to us.
God does not give up on us.
In my estimation, that is the message of the Gospel.
Certainly, my task as a Minister of Word and Sacrament is to provide opportunities for the community I serve to express their love for God and neighbor in meaningful and tangible ways. But in a culture where we‘re too often measured by what we own, what we drive or how we look, I feel strongly that preaching the gospel also means building up communities of compassion and challenging one another to remember who we are: beloved, redeemed, cherished.
NOTE: I’m working on updating my Personal Information Form (or PIF), which is the standardized form that Presbyterian Church (USA) pastors fill out when they are looking for new ministry positions. As I do so, I am reading and writing a lot of things about the church, ministry, and myself. Since not all of these things will eventually wind up in the final version of my PIF, I thought I’d share some of it here. Thanks for letting me indulge.