a work day in a hard time — from john st sj
Wednesday September 25, 2013
Hard times — a Congress locked in venom and contempt for those with whom one must negotiate, “partisan” is a common adjective for elected officials at the national level; Detroit city caught in uncertainties about bankruptcy that stir mistrust and fear for the future; UDM negotiating a McNichols faculty contract turned acrimonious and hurtful.
In easy times you don’t have to be so careful about your language, you will spontaneously find playful words, wise with kindness. In hard time it helpfs to pay attention to word choices. I decided to choose one prayer or poem each work day for a while. Unless I screw up that plan and forget one day or another.
Here is today’s word, sent with much respect and affection.
john st sj
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
Of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
That the kingdom lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capacities.
We cannot do everything,
And there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete
But it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
But that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not the master builder,
Ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Ken Untener, Bishop of Saginaw (deceased)