This weekend, Jesse Cox, Director of Campus Ministry at Marygrove College, met with us for a second time to reflect on the challenge of “doing ministry in our church.” These remarks are excerpts from his sharing with us on June 11th and we are reprinting them here to give you a flavor of the thought process that led to our sharing today in our mini-retreat. If you were not able to be here for our mini-retreat, we will be sharing what happened in the very near future.
Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, uses the images of the seamless garment from the, scripture, “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them in four shares, one for each of them, with Jesus’ cloak remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom” (John 19:23)
The seamless garment of life is a metaphor for the reality that all of us share one life in God. It is not a tenet but a understanding that all of life is sacred, from womb to tomb, in the unborn and the dying, in the murderer on death row and the mother in a coma, in the soldier in Afghanistan and the family in Iraq, in the undernourished child and the pensioner who can’t afford a doctor. “When human life is considered ‘cheap’ or easily expendable in one area,” Bernardin says, “eventually nothing is held as sacred and all lives are in jeopardy.”
The image of the seamless garment is the image I want to use for how we do ministry in our church. When we attend to the physical needs of the poor, we should also address the spiritual and psychological warfare that many are subjected to as well.
Dorothy Day, says, “The Gospel takes away our right forever, to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.” Our solidarity is with our neighbor, not just the one who can pay us back, or the one we are comfortable with, or the one who looks like use or lives in our neighborhood-our neighbor is the person and community most in need. The gospel invites us to a transition in ministry. Just as we deepen our relationship with God and allow the Holy Spirit to create deeper bonds among us, we also are invited to deepen the appreciation for the ministry we are called to doing the name of the Lord.
How will our ministry change? What can the poor, those less fortunate than I am, teach me and how can they minister to me-how have they? Can I minister with the poor, those in the community but not a part of the parish? How do we already do this? How can we become neighbor to one another? Who’s in and who’s our and how do we blur the lines that separate us?
PRAYER FOR MUSIC MINISTRY
O God, thank you for your gift of music, which makes us joyful, comforts us in sorrow, and lifts our hears to You. We love to return music to You in our worship, and so we ask for your blessing and guidance as we make the decision about our music minister. Send us a man or woman who loves to praise You, and loves to lead and inspire others to praise You. May our music bring us closer to each other, and to Your mission for our parish. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.