Skip to main content

ordination paperwork: question #3

a) Theology
3) What changes has the practice of ministry had on your understanding of (a) the Lordship of Jesus Christ? and (b) the work of the Holy Spirit?

a) Who do we say that Jesus is? In the Synoptics, we read that Jesus wants the disciples to fill him in on the gossip about himself. Who do people say that I am? The disciples give the answers, from far-fetched to hopefully speculative. But then Jesus gets to the point: Who do you say I am? It is a question that shoots from the page to our ears, demanding of us our own answer. Ultimately, Jesus was most interested in what the disciples would answer themselves, not if they could repeat the responses of others.
Who do we say Jesus is? I think we are each called to respond, and like the disciples heard, we too hear many responses today. In a recent issue of Relevant Magazine, Jason Boyett asked, “O Jesus, Who Art Thou?” He talked about our “Jesuses” - Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild, Republican Jesus, Christ Hippified, Romanticized Boyfriend Jesus, The Wild-Hearted Jesus, and, most recently, Jesus Is My Homeboy.[1] His descriptions are meant to be humorous, but also to be a sort of warning, pointing out how we have crafted Jesus into who we want him to be, instead of being shaped by Jesus.
In the practice of ministry, I’ve become more focused on my own response to Jesus’ question and on helping my congregation articulate a response for themselves. Jesus asks us to be disciples, which, from the Greek mathe^te^s, means more than ‘followers.’ It means students. Students study. Students practice and make mistakes and sometimes fail. Students know who the teacher is, and that the teach is the one with authority. Students seek to imitate the teacher. The practice of ministry has deepened my understanding of who Jesus is – our teachers, our savior, God with us, and who Jesus call us to be – his followers, his students, his disciples.


b) The Church and the Holy Spirit have a unique relationship, taking shape from the first Pentecost after the resurrection, when the promised Advocate moved among the gathered believers and enabled them to get to work.
It is this same spirit, this same Holy Breath that gives life to the church today, when we let it. In some ways, I would say that my practice of ministry has made the Holy Spirit less foreign, less strange. As much as we’ve tried our best to box God in, I also think we Christians have known less about what to ‘do’ with the Holy Spirit. But, in practicing ministry, I feel more aware of how the Spirit can and does work in our midst.
For the disciples, the Holy Spirit’s presence was what enabled them to begin the work of sharing the gospel. After Jesus was no longer physically among them, the disciples were afraid and hesitant. Would they step up and begin the work for which Jesus had been preparing them? The Holy Spirit filling them gives them the courage, the comfort, the voice to speak up and share the gospel.
I see that it is the same spirit that enables the church today. In 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul tells the church that there are many gifts, but one spirit that activates these gifts within us. Many gifts, but one body of Christ of which we are part. How can we do the work that Christ has called us to? By God’s grace, and by the presence of the Spirit within us, we are able.
I see the Spirit as calling the church, calling us beyond our comfort zones, and enabling us to do, as the body, what we wouldn’t have believed possible. I see the spirit, dwelling within us, each one, reminding us that we are God’s and that God is within us. In this way, the Spirit truly is Comforter and Advocate, enabling us to be the Church in the world.
[1] Boyett, Jason. “O Jesus, Who Art Thou?” Relevant Magazine. July/August 2005. pg.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Beth,

I am so impressed and inspired by your diligence. I, too, am attempting to start writing my responses to the questions, but eventhough time is getting short, I must confess that I have not begun. Thank you - you have inspired me to start (and blog them, too). I just started blogging. My site is at blog wesleyanperfection.blogspot.com
Beth Quick said…
Thanks Joe - I have to admit, when I went for my probationer interviews my questions were done even sooner than this ;) But that time around I had lucked out - they had been assigned as the final project in my doctrine and polity class in seminary, so I had spent a whole semester working on them. I will check out your blog!

Popular posts from this blog

re-post: devotional life for progressive Christians

I posted this a while back before anyone was really reading this blog. Now that more people seem to be stopping by, I thought I'd put it out there again with some edits/additons since it's been on my mind again... Do you find it difficult to have any sort of devotional time? When I was growing up, I was almost compulsive about my personal Bible Study, devotion time, etc. Somewhere along the way, I got more and more sporadic. In part, I found myself frustrated with the devotional books that I considered theologically too conservative. I find it hard to bond with God when you're busy mentally disagreeing with the author of whatever resource you're reading. My habit was broken, and I've never gotten it back for more than a few weeks at a time. So, a disciplined devotional/prayer/bible-reading life - is it something I should be striving to get back, or something that is filled by other ways I am close to God? This is a debate I have with myself all the time. On the

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright             “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been