by Kurt Walker
This is the third in a series of four blog posts looking at the Vision, Mission and Purpose statement drafted for a new, unified Conference. Delegates from the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences will vote on formally creating this new conference at the joint Annual Meeting June 15-16 in Springfield, MA.
We UCCers love to listen to the still, small voice of God whispering to us through the chaos of this world; to determine what it is that God would have us do to bring about God's kin-dom here on earth as it already is in heaven. We tend to take that Call from of the Lord’s Prayer very seriously.
Yes, by all means, let’s partner with God the Creator to be not-so-secret agents of change with the divine. Let’s go out to be in relationship with God, to do God’s will. Let’s be about the business of breaking bread with the hungry, offering a cup to the thirsty, welcoming the wayfarer into our homes and our sanctuaries, clothing those who shiver from naked loneliness, caring for the ill, and visiting those held captive by the shackles of judgment, oppression, and persecution.
As important as our actions are, I’ve learned that to become an effectual agent of God’s change, I must first be willing to be changed myself. This sort of change comes from the inside out; to be open to the power of God’s ability to, as the hymn petitions the Spirit to “melt me, mold me, fill me, and use me” - whether suddenly or gradually - into the new, the different, the transformed, the unexpected, the unintended, or the untried agent of change that God would have us become.
Perhaps there is no greater sign of faith in this “only I can fix it” atmosphere then to recognize God’s all-loving, all-inclusive ability to change us. It’s antithetical to how we are told to be in the world. We congregationalists sometimes forget that our present ability to make decisions toward a more hopeful tomorrow can only come by way of being in close partnership with God. It is only with God, in God, and through God that all things are possible – that all things are made good - that with God every valley is lifted up, every mountain and hill is made low; the uneven ground becomes level, and the rough places are made plain.
As we, the faithful members of the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Conferences continue to discern what it is that God would have us do as change agents for God, let us remember our first needing to allow God to change each of us from within.
Gracious and loving God - Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on us, that your will be done on earth as it already is in heaven.
The Rev. Kurt Walker is Pastor of Chapel Street Congregational Church, UCC, in Lincoln, RI
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