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What’s It All About

By Mary Domb Mikkelson

MaryDombMikkelson3Do you hesitate to share what your religion means to you?  Find it easy to say what a great church you attend but not how God or Jesus or faith is an integral part of your life? 

Join the crowd!  Testimonies?  Not very UCC!

And yet…and yet…

It’s happening at Bible study and in worship discussions…there’s a willingness, maybe even a need, to share.  We may need a tongue-untwister to get the words out, but we’re trying, trying to say what ‘it’ – what our faith, our relationship with God, our following Jesus – is all about.

“What’s it all about?”  The Rev. Martin Copenhaver asks that in Chapter 2 of This Odd and Wondrous Calling:  The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers,* a book he co-authored with The Rev. Lillian Daniel.  Confounded by the remarks of Michael Green, a British historian of evangelism, at a gathering of UCC ministers – “Evangelism is ‘chatting about Jesus’” and “When was the last time you told your congregation what Jesus means to you?” – Copenhaver did just that in his final sermon at a church he had served for nine years:

“As I am about to leave, there is something I want to tell you.  I want to tell you what Jesus means to me.  I want to share my belief that everything depends on him.  I want to urge you to learn from him.  I want to assure you that you can lean on him in times of trouble.  I want to ask you to listen to his words of challenge.  I want to tell you that I believe that you can entrust your life to him.  I want to affirm that he is Lord of this church, and that in his name you are freed to love one another and empowered to share that love with a hurting world.  I want to profess that, though once people could not look at the face of God and live, now we are invited to look at the face of God in him, in Jesus, and live as we have never lived before.  He is Emmanuel, God with us, God with us all, whether we are together or apart.  That’s what it’s all about.  That’s all I know.  Amen.”

and was further confounded when asked by a longtime parishioner, “Why haven’t you told us this before?” – a question that continues to haunt him.

Wow!

So, Mary, what’s it all about for you? 

God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are somewhat muddled in my mind (an amalgam?).  When I identify God as “the divine nudge” who drops so many directional hints that I usually get the message, I suspect I am speaking of the Spirit, the aspect of God described by the Vicar of PBS’s St. Saviour of the Marshes as “God’s energy.” 

God or Spirit or Amalgam, I know there is Someone who walks with me, who helps me hold on, slow down, move on; Someone who connects with me in the world’s thin spaces;  Someone who celebrates my joys and comforts my sorrows; Someone who carries me when I can’t carry on.

Carries me?  The beloved poem Footprints (by M. R. Powers) gives Jesus (“The Lord”) that role (as witnessed by a myriad of mugs, plaques and greeting cards).  So, God, Spirit, Jesus, Amalgam.  Mystery.  Energy.  Force.  Light.  Love.  All of the above.  SomeoneSomeone special.  Someone holy.  Someone worth following. 

Worth following.  Jesus, definitely.  God in the world.  God in us.  God less mysterious.

Spirit walking with me, Jesus beckoning me to follow:  that’s what God means to me.
 
What about you?  What does God or Jesus or Spirit or Amalgam mean to you?  If you’d like to share your thoughts, Connecting Voices would like to see them!  Send to Mary Mikkelson at publicity@ucclm.sdcoxmail.com or gsdsef_mary@pacbell.net.

*William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

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