Shelling corn in Ecuador
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
In what ways might you be bearing fruit? Is your faith community engaged in the world around you? Is there fruit coming from those connections in the local city, around the country, or around the world?
In our diocesan Deacons’ School, we teach about community involvement and social change in many ways. One tool we use is called the Charity to Justice Continuum. It approaches social justice initiatives with four different responses—Charity, Service, Advocacy, and Justice.
All four of these are necessary, but the goal is to reach a place of justice; that enough power, prayer, time, energy, and love be given to a problem so that systems will change, and the problem will be solved. For example, solving hunger requires that those who are hungry be fed. Charity is needed to pay for food and Service is essential to prepare and distribute that food. Advocacy gives voice to those who do not have the power to speak for themselves. But ultimately, Justice would result in all people having a share of the abundance of food available in our world.
This is the first summer in years I have not accompanied youth on a short-term mission. In my experience, well done mission experiences are not sightseeing trips or an opportunity to do some project for those who may be in need.
Good mission is about bearing fruit—yes, while on the mission, but especially after the mission.
Making tuna casserole at a Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service
In the most rewarding circumstances, transformation takes place as all involved become Christ to one another and lives are changed forever. This might come from attending a Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service making tuna casseroles, or mixing cement with your hands in rural Kentucky, or sitting on a dirt floor in Ecuador shelling corn. And maybe months, or even years later, a life is focused on service because Jesus transformed a heart to reach out.
Mixing cement in rural Kentucky
Our Bishop shares these words of Teresa of Avila:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
Find your passion for making a difference and allow your heart to be transformed, so that you may bear fruit in the world by being Jesus’ hands, feet, and eyes.
The Ven. L. Sue Von Rautenkranz