UCC GENERAL SYNOD 27 – JUNE 2009
“Immersed and Challenged”
by Jo Ann Chance
Both expectant pool and gurgling stream,
Enticingly active, playful, refreshing, inviting,
Whispering sweet promises of cleansing and welcoming renewal.
Thanks be to God for the gift of precious, sanctifying water…
Delegates, visitors and staff gather
To share, to celebrate, to learn, listen, sing, dance and converse.
Networking, prayer-partnerships and trust-building desired;
Evangelical courage sought;
Various styles of leadership and finding ministry offered;
Global views with a sense of justice and peace not forgot.
Reflecting prayer, song and praise,
Waiting as we celebrate with time together,
Lapping expectantly as wisdom words are heard
From guests, members, and many faithful leaders:
Remember the commas; “only God has the right to write a period.”
We are “the church others are looking for.”
We witness the “transcendent power of the Still-Speaking God.”
Ours is a “life together with friends we did not choose.”
Continue living out “covenantal relationships”;
Be the heart of mission in the community.
Distinguish between problems and conditions.
Ask deeper questions.
Build needed relationships of “God’s reconciling love.”
“Diversity is not a destination, but a journey.”
Tell “not what we’re against, but what we are for”;
Look for allies and friends.
Remember that ours is a “fluid faith.”
“How will this crisis change us?” - the question.
We are “bound together and finely woven”;
Be an “I love you no matter how you got to my front door-kind of church.”
In this crucial time, pivotal decisions are needed.
Faith is in the “mountain-moving business.”
Does “implicit racism at which we are complacent” exist?
Where then would our “privilege” persist?
“Dumped into the sea, dipped in the pool, drenched in the river…”
SHALL we? Shall we gather at the river?
Whether we understand its power, loving impartiality and buoyancy;
Water that responds in ripples that touch and impact others
Whether explosive, mighty, crushing stones are thrown
Or less obtrusive pebbles are gently tossed.
Joyful ripples shared from youthful giggles and playful splashes;
Messages upon the water from kites flying, hammers pounding,
Nails holding and garden tools digging and planting seeds.
Cookies, hugs and quilt-block prayers quietly effect the water’s response
And in mission and ministry share simply that which we believe.
Water beckoning us
Into common causes of justice and mission.
Multiple paths of service and ministry honored;
Social action, health, peace and justice issues advanced and affirmed.
Challenge offered to go beyond “resolutionary Christianity”
To “revolutionary Christianity.”
Immersed in worship created for and upon the waters;
Joyfully drawn in through rich music, liturgical dramas, dance and drum;
Captivated by the inclusivity and beauty of dancing wheels, as one.
But the water,
Said to also be “mean, tough, and impersonal,”
Was apparently so…
Folks approached the water’s edge,
Some clad in gifted, confident, even scarlet shoes,
Some weary and ready to triumphantly proceed as planned;
Some barefoot, others wearing sandals of diverse hues;
Some soon felt chewed up, spat out and left unheard along the edge.
Power was in the process;
“Synod has spoken; let it speak.”
But the tranquil waters were becoming turbulent, uncomfortably bleak.
Was justice present when time was called
And apparently all voices were suddenly not heard?
Compromises were reportedly being offered.
The water churned……
Restlessness and uneasiness occurred.
Tears were added to the hopeful water.
Lacking was a moment for prayer and God’s comforting word.
O, healing water,
Bless both the tranquil and the turbulent waters of our lives.
Bless the hopeful, engaging and transforming pleas and sighs.
Water of Mystery,
Calm the confusion and cleanse the sadness and fear;
Wash away the divisions, fill us with hope
And awaken again our laudable dreams made clear.
Help us come to the water of love and benevolent blessing,
Sit at its shore and sense true community being offered there.
O, radiant, welcoming water,
You beckon us ALL to come…
Water luminous, demanding, lovingly refreshing, and full of God’s grace;
Help us come, to touch and be touched,
To feel revitalized, transformed and empowered;
Seeing reflected there,
Ours and Christ’s loving face.
Let us come, be immersed and made new,
For there is much for us, together, yet to do.