June 25, 2018 - I will, with God's help.

As I move on from St. Paul’s to take up my new position as rector of Church of the Good Shepherd in Federal Way, I will end here the way I began: with our Baptismal Covenant:

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers?

I will, with God’s help.

You have just promised to come to church—any church; it doesn’t have to be Episcopal—and to participate in its community, not just when there’s nothing else going on this Sunday morning, but as your central practice and deeply ingrained habit, and to keep praying, and to keep learning.

 

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

I will, with God’s help.

You have just admitted that you are not perfect, and you have promised never to assume that you are in the right, but to keep learning humbly and turning around thankfully.

 

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

I will, with God’s help.

You have just promised to evangelize. Evangelism simply means telling your story of God’s Good News in your life in a way that understands it also to be Good News for everybody in the world, not just a privileged few. This may or may not involve standing on street corners, but it never involves words of paranoia or hatred.

 

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

I will, with God’s help.

You have just promised to trust Jesus’ presence not only in those you know and love, but also in your enemies—whom you have promised to love as well as your friends. You have promised to treat everyone in the world as the divine creations they are.

 

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God’s help.

You have just promised not to be silently complicit in any evil actions of your own people, your own church, or your own nation. You have promised to work to dismantle any system that dehumanizes—understanding that people are never to be used as a means to an end, for all human beings are a divine end in themselves.