Serving in the Kingdom…
In the New Testament, Jesus did not tell his disciples how to start or run the church. Church office (leadership) seems to be first discussed by Bishop Ignatius of Antioch. Antioch was where the first church in which non-Jews had assembled, about 15 years after his resurrection.
Ignatius understood leadership in terms of charismatic authority (presence of the Holy Spirit) and not from the concept of power and control. His writings are based in the idea of Christ’s unity within the church in terms of service and care for others. He understood the church to bear the illness of all people; to devote their love not to the good but to the difficult disciples; to care for the widows (those without support); and not to be haughty in dealing with the less fortunate. These officers were named together and stood side by side in obedience to each other.
The church he described so soon after the Resurrection of Christ continues today in Pinnacle Presbyterian Church.
My initial worship at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church was humbling. In this worshiping community the Sacrament of Baptism was performed by Rev. Sarah Johnson. She continues the Great Commission of our Christ and Lord in service and care to others.
To experience the shared joy of parents, family, and a congregation who will publicly witness belief in God, the birth-life-death-resurrection and ascension of Jesus reveals the presence of the Holy Spirit still. I came to this Sacrament from my previous service in Hospital Chaplaincy. The Sacrament there was the same but the celebration of the Kingdom of God was different. It differed in that no child in whose Baptism I participated would know the earthly joy of the child Rev. Sarah held. Yet all would know the joy of being in the arms of Jesus within hours to days. The parents and the families of these children also witnessed their belief in God, the birth-life-death-resurrection and ascension of Jesus and their membership in the body of Christ.
The Sacrament of Baptism in both locations assures us of the good news that the Kingdom of God is present now and in eternity. It’s difficult to express both intellectually and as feelings so I will summarize through assurance in the words of a mentor, Pastor Tully of Orangewood (who is younger than my son and who loves Jesus more than I can express), “It’s all that easy and it’s all that hard.” I believe this is much of why we come together in community, and in unity, and in the Holy Spirit.
I am blessed (predestined? we are Presbyterians) in my journey to church office to participate in the life of Pinnacle Presbyterian Church where the welcome, warmth, kindness, and acceptance I have received empowers me to see the presence of God in my life and not just another period of preparation.
I look forward to being with you in faithful witness and service to each other, to our families, and to our communities.