Those I Would Like to Reach, and What I Would Like to Share

Perhaps the most important work of the Moderator is to listen carefully to those across the church who are working to assure that the Church provide meaning in a confusing world, and to highlight the amazing work already being done to respond to our communities and our world in crisis. The Moderator of the General Assembly has a unique opportunity to help Presbyterians learn about and engage in great projects right in our own neighborhoods and across the world. As I travel, I will try to pay special attention to a few groups and concerns in particular.

First, I'll reach out to young adults who are searching for meaning in a society that offers them the empty promise of fulfillment through consumerism, egoism, and the false piety of nationalism. I'll invite them into a church that offers them the same kind of radical invitation Jesus offered his disciples. Leave the empty promises behind and join a faith community that demands something of us and that offers something meaningful to the world.

Theologian Ched Myers, speaking to the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship at the General Assembly in Dallas/Ft. Worth, invited those assembled to become the word incarnate, to put our bodies on the line in the service of our God. I'll invite young people to give their lives to Jesus through mission service in their communities and around the world. I'll ask them to become a part of the nonviolent, faith-based movement for peace in a search for the security Jesus promises we will find if we only have the courage to believe. I'll ask them to build community that reflects their values and their beliefs as Christians, and to support one another in standing against the idols of materialism that hammer us through the media outlets every day. Put another way, I'll invite them to discover the Good News of Jesus Christ in their own lives, and to live every day in communion with that Jesus.

Second, I'll work to be a bridge in this position, as I have throughout my mission service, to connect the worlds of those who are secure as the beneficiaries of the global economy and those who expect to live their entire lives as the servants of that economy. For those of us born to privilege in our world today, there is no more important question than how we will respond to the inequities of globalization. We are the rich young ruler, and what Jesus asks of us will stretch us beyond anything we've ever imagined. We're invited to truly know, and be changed by, those who have nothing. The Good News for us is that if we can accept Jesus' invitation, we will find new meaning in our lives.

Of course, the Good News for those who have not been the winners is spelled out in the Beatitudes. They will receive God's kingdom, and they will be comforted, and they will inherit the earth, and they will be filled. In the here and now, they will have enough to feed their children, and keep them healthy, and see that they are educated, and they will be able to offer them a future. That doesn't seem too much to ask.

So how can I work to be that bridge? I'd like to find ways to link poor communities with communities of privilege. Many churches and Presbyteries in our denomination have already committed to build those relationships. I'd like to invite Presbyterians to travel with me to accompany people in our partner churches in marginalized communities in our own country and around the world. I'd like to find ways for us to be a nonviolent, Christ-centered presence in situations of entrenched violence. I'd like us to reach out to those who are different and to put our bodies on the line in the service of our God. The Good News of the Gospel really is good news for all of us, and it has the possibility to be incredibly good news for the Presbyterian Church, (USA). That's news that I would like to share.