I remember the first week after my husband, and I got home from the hospital with our firstborn. We were becoming very aware of the breadth and depth of what it meant to be responsible for the well-being of this tiny, fragile creature. One morning, blurry-eyed and a bit overwhelmed, my husband looked down at our baby girl, then looked at me and said, “When are her parents coming to pick her up? Oh, that’s right, we are the parents.”
It felt strange that we had been entrusted to figure it out on our own. There were no more nurses to take the baby to the nursery and care for her so we could sleep through the night as there were in the hospital. Family and friends were glad to visit, but they eventually went home. We were the ones who had been chosen to take carry of this little life, to keep her alive and help her to thrive. There was no one to look to do the work for us or figure it out for us; we were the parents.
Similarly, a popular meme says, “No one is coming to figure it out for you. You are the adult.”
I feel the same way about the moment we find ourselves collectively as the Church.
We keep looking for the perfect processes, workshops, books, and leaders to give us all the answers, yet we are the adults. We are the ones Christ has called forth to carry on his mission and ministry. As Jesus said in sending out the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Matthew 9:37-38).”
Jesus saw the needs of humanity and had compassion for people he encountered, but there was a problem—he needed those who would share the work, and he asked his disciples to be the answer.
This is the sole reason for the Church to show forth the compassion of Christ to those who need it most, to be Christ's hands, hearts, and lips in the world. We, as the Church, as disciples, are called to be the answer.
How many times (maybe even this past week) have you told someone or told yourself that you are discouraged by the state of the world today, and you wonder who will do something about it?
Jesus is asking the same question. Who will do something about humanity's longing, pain, and needs? Who will respond? Will it be you? Will you follow in his footsteps, offering love, compassion, hope, and healing?
Yet, friends, the truth is that no one is coming to figure it out for us. No one can give us easy answers. No one can do the work for us. We are the adults.
We are the ones Jesus has chosen to continue the work, mission, and ministry of offering hope, healing, and extravagant love and welcome to all those we meet. Yes, the “harvest is plentiful,” and the “workers are few,” but let us say YES to Jesus' calling. Jesus needs us. The world needs us. And the Church needs us now more than ever before.
Blessing, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister