Disciple: We Press On
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
- Philippians 3:10-16
As you read this edition of the Disciple, Election Day has come and gone. It was a season of uncertainty and anxiety, yet, firmly acknowledging the challenge ahead regardless of who holds any elected office, we, the bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina, are hopeful and determined to press on in the firm belief that we follow a God who goes before us.
- When the world challenges our very understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus in a broken and violent world, we look to our Baptismal Covenant:
- Will you persevere in resisting evil?
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
- Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?
Our affirmation to these questions—“I will, with God’s help.”—is no less important now than when we first said we believed. The Church’s call and our response is one of daring, dangerous discipleship. It is the sacrificial work Jesus commissioned us to do with a fierce love that fulfills the law of God. It is the work of being courageous and encouraging others to join us.
- Unhealed wounds must be tended to. This is our reality at all times. The Church stands as a reminder that we are called to confront the world with Good News and terrible truth. The Good News of Jesus Christ lifts us toward the redeeming love of God and assures us that we are not alone in the pursuit of God’s dream of beloved community. To heal wounds and repair the breach means to be willing to tell the truth. The terrible truth is that we have been complicit in settling for good enough while evil persists and spreads.
- We must continually, honestly acknowledge the trauma that has fallen disproportionately on our marginalized siblings. We seek unity on the principle that God’s love is for everyone. We understand there will be diversity of views in how to incarnate and best express this love for all. In this regard, with great humility, we must admit that The Episcopal Church, including the Diocese of North Carolina, has historically fallen short of full accountability. However, we continue to learn and to grow, and while we look forward to times of collegiality, we will not do so at the expense of those who continue to suffer. We recognize that it is not the responsibility of the wounded to heal themselves. It is the duty of those who benefit from such harm to do right in restitution for these injuries. This includes those caused by the Church.
- We call upon every person of faith to stand as both advocates and as healers: advocates who lead the continuing fight against the crushing blows of poverty, racism, sexism, anti-gay bigotry, xenophobia, ableism and this pandemic; and healers of the deep divides among families, coworkers, neighbors and church members. We recognize that some may be called to public witness as they stand in solidarity with their commitment to bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice. We endorse their right to protest peacefully and call on local leaders to respond judiciously. No one should resort to violence, but, in the words of St. Paul, “overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
- Our commitment to the public policy priorities of the Diocese continues: to racial justice and reconciliation, to farmworkers, immigrants and refugees, to criminal justice reform, to affordable housing and to creation care. We reaffirm our commitment to be disciples of Jesus Christ, making disciples who make a difference. We exhort our brothers, sisters and siblings to join us in a witness that is unwavering.
The stirring words of the Prophet Micah still hold true: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
Tags: North Carolina Disciple