By Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor
As I shared on Sunday morning, I intend to blog weekly at least. Perhaps more but not likely. I will have to discover my rhythm for blogging. Since this is a new experience I will shoot for a new posting at least every Thursday.
This past Sunday, I was talking about our tag line, “Living in the Wisdom of God’s Love.” The tag line does not replace the mission statement simply reflects the charism that undergirds the mission statement. Please let me explain. I truly believe that God uniquely gifts a particular congregation of God’s people with a particular charism (gift, call, DNA, etc.)
In preparation for the creation of our new tag line (not new mission) Sheree Gerig was especially helpful in naming the two primary identifiers of our missional DNA/purpose/call etc. Sage and care-giver.
The sage represents the teaching, deepening, the exploring, the learning, the growing that we are called at Chapel Hill to provide and facilitate.
The care-giver is the healer, the shepherd, the guide, the safe place to heal and grow. In other words, Chapel Hill is called to be a teaching spiritual hospital….welcoming (hospitality) all persons to experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus Christ. Do you see how this all connects?
So, living in the wisdom of God’s love implies we are active not passive, participating not observing, and intentionally growing toward a particular goal not just aimlessly wandering around the wilderness seeking direction.
Let me give an example of how this works.
Nelson Mandela was born into a privileged family in South Africa. He earned a law degree, opened his own firm, and was on his way to a life of ease and affluence. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut about the racial injustices of the apartheid government.
Instead, Mandela joined the African National Congress, a political opposition party which demanded equal rights for native Africans. He became a leader.
Because of his involvement, Mandela received a life prison sentence. He was given a thin blanket, an iron bucket for a toilet, and a straw mat to sleep on. His food was meager and he was beaten unmercifully time and time again. His years were spent alternating between solitary confinement and harsh physical labor.
Thirty years after having been unjustly sentenced to prison, the protests of his fellow black South Africans became so loud that he was released. Three years later, in 1993, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. The next year he became the President of South Africa.
It’s called….living in the wisdom of God’s love.
My challenge for us….individually and congregationally is to discern what it is that we are called to do in living the wisdom of God’s love. You can be sure of one thing….most people will think it is foolish! God almost always chooses the things that are considered foolish by many to manifest divine wisdom and love. If only Nelson Mandela would have been quiet….