How long will we sing? How long will we pray? How long will we write and send?
How long will we bring? How long will we stay? How long will we make amends?
‘Until all are fed!” we cry out; until all on earth have bread. Like the One who loves us each and every one, we serve until all are fed!
© 2014 Bryan McFarland & Tommy Brown
In June 2018, nearly two hundred clergy and lay people assembled in Mississauga for the biennial Eastern Synod Assembly. We gathered under the theme: Liberated By God’s Grace…To Be NEIGHBOUR!
While at first glance the focus of our four days together may seem quaint and insignificant – the theme of liberation and neighbourliness proved to be timely. As we reflected on the churches prophetic voice amidst issues of poverty, addiction and homeliness. As we considered our role in response to continued racial injustice in Canada. And certainly, as we prayerfully faced the question, ‘who is our neighbour,’ acknowledging that the response is far wider than we often care to admit.
In some ways, we have been facing these same questions, and trying to address these same concerns, longer than many of us can remember. The call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the grieving, protect the widow, shelter the orphaned, care for the hurting and liberate the captive are biblical in their origins. God’s call to God’s church echoes throughout time – and now it rests upon our ears.
And so let me ask you – how long? How long will we labour in this work? How long will we try? How long will we seek to be faithful neighbours in God’s world. How long?
My answer, drawing from the words of Bryan McFarland & Tommy Brown, is to commit to this work until all are fed. More specifically, until all are fed…or clothed…or comforted…or protected…or sheltered…or cared for…or liberated.
Who are our neighbours? What are their needs? And how might we endeavor to live faithfully into our calling to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and to love our neighbours as ourselves? What does such a response look like in Upper Northfield, or Mahone Bay? How might such a focus shape our synodical life and work? And in which ways might we, each of us, be invited into these neighbourly labours?
To paraphrase our Bishop, Michael Pryse’s comments as he reflected on the story of Jesus calming the storm: “We have heard Jesus calling us to go across to the other side; to put out into the depth of God our creator – to put out into the depth of our neighbours, despite whatever storm we might encounter on the way. By the liberating power of God’s grace, we are empowered to go deeper and further into our gospel mission. And if, indeed, this is the case, then our life together will be full, and abundant, and overflowing.”
May it be so!
Pastor Adam Snook