Seasons of the Spirit ~ SeasonsFUSION

Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service

Showing Up: Seeking the Welfare of the Community


I have just completed a “Master Class in Public Ministry” at Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide, South Australia, with Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial Church, Greenwich Village, NYC. Coincidentally, I met Donna when I attended Judson Memorial just 4 weeks ago. I could write about connections in our “global” village, but that can wait for another day.

This gathering at Pilgrim Uniting Church was for “anyone interested in developing the spiritual capacity to make a difference in the world. We were promised it would be “fun, informative, and invigorating!” and it was.

One of Donna’s concerns is to liberate public ministry from a motivation of obligation—should and ought—to ministry that comes as a response to experienced grace.

Public ministry, Donna suggests, is entering the difficulties of the world with hope—without judgment, blame and shame.

During the concluding session, today, we made a list of some of the characteristics of public ministry we had heard during the master class. These included:

  • showing up
  • being unapologetically Christian so others can be unapologetically themselves
  • being community-oriented—seeking the welfare of the community/society
  • fostering partnership with a common cause
  • being honest
  • being vulnerable
  • taking risks
  • being present, not just being there
  • not imposing our views on another

In the story told in 1 Samuel 17:1-23, 32-49, David shows up, risks, and  unapologetically stands in the confidence of his relationship with God. David is not motivated to act because he “should,” or because he desires glory or rich reward, or to blame and shame. Rather, he seeks the welfare of the community, and to honour the God of Israel.

The Israelite army is unable to act—paralyzed by the enormity of the task. I am thinking of the young man on Saturday who was feeling confused and overwhelmed by the giants that threaten and oppress society today, and worried about making the wrong choice about where to put his energies. Donna’s encouragement to us all is to take 3 steps only and let the 3rd step tell what the 4th step will be.

Although we cannot be certain of David’s exact age in this story, he was most likely still an adolescent. Adolescents today, like David, are passionate about their lives and interests and can be inspired to act courageously and intensely on behalf of important causes.

  • How might the church provide opportunities for young people to express their passion for the work of God’s reign, especially when faced with potentially insurmountable needs, such as poverty and hunger?

Susan Burt
Coordinating Editor of SeasonsFUSION

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2012 by in Pentecost 1, 2013 and tagged , , , , , .

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