Defining Moments (Mark 1:4-11)

After John Dorhauer became UCC General Minister and President he went on a journey to list to the people of this denomination.  He and the Board of Directors of the UCC were looking for a way to broadly name our core values.

“We were hoping to find a phrase that would pop, that really captured our essence,” Dorhauer said.  “When we asked you what you would see if we were successful at our mission, these words appeared:  ‘A just world for all.’  The second I saw those words in print, my heart leapt.  This vision calls upon all of us–no matter what our political or theological commitments are; no matter whether we identify as an urban, rural or town setting; no matter whether we are a large, small, pastor-sized or family-sized congregation; whether we are a CHHSM [Council for Health and Human Service Ministries’ agency or a conference board of directors–all of us convenantally bear now the same responsibility.  We must faithfully answer the question:  how do we embody or incarnate a commitment to build a just world for all?”

In the Gospel of Mark the story of Jesus does not begin in the Temple or the stable, it begins at the Jordan with John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus.  Jesus, newly baptized and blessed by God, moves out from this moment into his world, calling disciples and bringing the good news that God is announcing a new world–a just world.

How, then, do we as members of local churches and disciples of that same Jesus embody that commitment to A Just World for All?  What Reverend Dorhauer found on his trip crisscrossing this country was that local churches  were already doing this.  We were embodying that mission every day through our love of children, our love of neighbor and our love of this creation.  What’s different is not that we will all line up to do something but that our denominational infrastructure will become our megaphone, our social media platform, and our story-teller about what it is we do to further this just world for all.

Think about your church and how you express your love for this world.  Tell that story so that we all know what we’re doing and how much we mean to our communities and one another.  The world is cracked and broken but we are purveyors of hope and how-the-world-might-look one day.  This is our call to imagine together what the things we do mean for all of us.  This is our defining moment as the church of Jesus Christ.

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