Called to Discipleship
asked members of our staff to share what moves them to do justice work. This
month Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister of Justice and Witness
Ministries, reflects on our call to be disciples - not alone - but in
Called to Discipleship
Every now and then
I get stuck in disappointment, despair, and disgust. When I see the magnitude of the injustice
happening all around us, I wonder how in the world we’re going to “fix it.” It is often easier to just ignore what’s
going on and slump into denial; a belief that what is happening is not my fault
or that there’s nothing I can do about it.
Then I’m shaken out of my complacency by God who seems to literally
interrupt my thoughts and gets into my head or heart. God’s regular interruptions remind me that I
must be a part of influencing change because every living thing is connected
and that each one of us is responsible for the common good. It is a clear reminder that if we talk too
much or listen too little, we may miss the chance to be shaken.
While I rely on
many scriptural passages, I am primarily drawn to the Gospel teachings. The Gospels are full Jesus’ teachings that require
that we not turn our backs on the injustice that is occurring throughout the
world. They are the reminders that
compel us not to isolate ourselves in our churches with an attitude of
self-preservation and self-righteousness while the world is painfully crumbling
around us. The institutional church must
shift from only responding to opinions and needs pressed by the most vocal
within the congregational community to seeking a deeper understanding of what
it means to be a model of love and justice as specified in the Gospels. As Jesus’ followers, we Christians must raise
our voice in the public square especially in our social systems that favor the
rich, the powerful and the dominant. Rather
than asking the question, “what would Jesus do” perhaps we should remember what
Jesus DID do.
One particular passage
in the Gospel of Luke speaks to me every day, because I am a firm believer in
collegial ministry and inter-dependent relationships. If we work together, we are strengthened in
our effort to live out our commitment to serve God through Jesus in a world
that requires human interaction. We need
not go out alone, nor assume that anything can be achieved through any one
Jesus appointed the seventy others and sent
Ahead of him in pairs to every town and
He himself intended to go. (Luke 10:1-3)
Jesus said to
share the good news of joy, hope and reconciliation. Diverse communities and people of faith must
work together, not alone, but in pairs to
create an environment where peace is possible and where relationships can
endure with respect and dignity.
However, I do sometimes wonder if this passage is about more than “not
going out alone.” When religious leaders
get caught up in their own greatness, listening to their own voice, I wonder if
this passage that calls us to go out in pairs is also meant to keep our
personal ego in check. To remind us that
we are instruments of God’s righteousness, not our own.
He sent them ahead
of him in pairs to prepare the way.
Disciples sent with a task.
Discipleship – the main job – not the second job, not a moonlighting
task, not an ice-cream social, and not a hobby for after hours. Discipleship – not a choice but a
call. Discipleship – a summons to
serve. Disciples sent together. When I get discouraged, I just remember Jesus
and what He said and did. Inspired by
His words and deeds, surely I can do my part.