Over the course of this year, we will be talking about the many ways that the deacons in the diocese are working with their parishes on behalf of the beloved we meet. Archdeacon Steve launches the series with an explanation of belovedness.
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians (3:12), Pauls says this, “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
There are three things you should know about belovedness…no wait, four.
Thing number 1 – Who are God’s chosen ones? The answer to this is… we are God’s chosen ones. All of us. It is not limited to the folks Paul addressed in his letter. It is not limited to any defined person or group. We are all God’s chosen ones and God’s beloved.
Thing number 2 – The definition of beloved: a much loved person.
Thing number 3 – Belovedness: the state or condition of being beloved.
While it is not unique to ordained deacons, belovedness is the primary lens in which deacons look at the world. All are beloved, especially those in any kind of need. That need may be material. It could be a need for someone who is willing to listen and hear a person’s story. Or in a situation where the “beloved” needs an ally; a friend to help or a voice that will be heard on behalf of those with little or no voice. In their ordination vows, deacons promise to “look for Christ in all others, being ready to help and serve those in need.”
But you might say, “Wait a minute, that sounds familiar!” And you are right. You see, in our Baptismal Covenant after being asked, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.”
We reply, “ I will, with God’s help.”
The vows are very similar to each other, aren’t they? And since they are, here is…
Thing number 4 – Those who are beloved–the ones Paul talks about–is everyone. And this state of belovedness is the lens through which deacons look at the world. But that same lens is really shared by us all. It is right there in the promises we make every time there is a renewal of our Baptismal Covenant.
Sometimes, like in this article, belovedness means taking care of our planet so that it is here for generations to come. Sometimes, it will show up as the collective engagement of deacons and their parishes working in singular focus for greater impact. Always, it will be in the context of taking steps in love and care of the beloved children of God.
You are invited along! Where is your passion? Where is the place where what you care about meets the world’s needs? Bishop Mariann invited us at Diocesan Convention in January to “take the next faithful step.” If you do not know where to begin, ask a deacon to help you find a place to start and take that next faithful step with you. And if your parish does not have a deacon, email me and I will work with you.
With you on the journey,
The Venerable Steve Seely, Archdeacon