Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

Yesterday I sat with some colleagues and during our discussion came to the conclusion that we are fundamentally different in our understanding of what it means to be a Christian. It was a good conversation but also a difficult one. Our differences have consequences for how we work together and for some calls into question our ability to work together. In the face of this I find myself having to discern what I am willing to stand up for. What am I willing to compromise on and what is just not negotiable in order for me to live with integrity as the Spiritual leader of a community of faith. This is not an easy task for me. From an early age I was groomed to be a peace maker and when that seems to be impossible I find myself in a wrestling match. It would be easier if the only person to have to live with the consequences of my conviction was me, however that is not the case. My convictions will impact the community of faith I serve and the community at large. So as I reflect I turn to the words of my faith that speak of who I am called to be and the mission entrusted to me. First and foremost I am one who follows in the footsteps of Jesus and as such I look to what he did. As I do that I am confronted by a person who was filled with compassion and love ; who spoke up for the weak and those on the margins of society; who would not back down in the face of injustice; and who invited everyone to the banquet feast. I also listen to the voices and visions of those who have walked the road before me and who speak words of wisdom on my journey.  Gloria Ulterino writes “God’s spirit stirs in our hearts. Cry out with God for justice! God’s spirit stirs in our hearts. Break the bonds of silence, let the oppressed go free! God’s Spirit stirs in our hearts. For God waits… in women crying out, in children abandoned… and in anyone kept at bay. God’s Spirit stirs in our hearts. For when we keep anyone on the margins, we rob God… and ourselves, of God’s power in our midst. God’s Spirit stirs in our hearts, that our prayer may become action for God.”

What I know in my heart as it connects with the heartbeat of the universe is that there is a place at the table for everyone; that the call of Jesus invites us to create places where questions can be asked; doubts and fears named; where difference is the norm and where all are free.

Each of us will, at some point in our journey, have to discern if we are willing to stand up for what we believe. We will need to ask the question – am I willing to stand behind my convictions regardless of the cost?

May the Spirit of Christ be with each of us in our journey.

Blessings
Valerie

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