Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
Why do followers of Jesus work in the public arena - that part of our life where communities and countries and corporations and the nations of the world make policies that shape our common life? What theological principles and Biblical stories call us to and sustain us in such ministry?
How do we witness and work in the public arena?
On Saturday, May 18, I had the privilege to explore these and related questions with an intergenerational group from Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Maryland.
Certified Educator Jan Moody, Pastor, the Rev. Kirby Lawrence Hill, and Director of Music John Horman helped plan the day (PowerPoint presentation).
We began with worship and getting to know each other. A brief exploration of the theology that invites and calls members of the Reformed Tradition into the public arena followed.
The participants divided into small groups to study Bible stories of people of faith involved in the public arena: Jesus who called the children to him as one example of breaking down the customs of his day; Jesus who overturned the tables to challenge the economic structure of the Temple; the Good Samaritan - when would the Samaritan realize that it is important to care for those who are wounded and it is important to figure out why they are wounded; Joseph who became a civil servant; and Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives in Egypt, who committed one of the first recorded acts of civil disobedience.
Each small group presented their particular story. As a whole we discussed what the story taught about ministry in the public arena.
A presentation on child soldiers and the Red Hands campaign and other initiatives to end the exploitation of children followed lunch. The participants then rotated through four learning/action centers. One center focused on music; one on making Red Hands to deliver to the UN Mission of Haiti; and one on making a banner about Red Hands for the congregations use. In the final center, participants prepared the closing worship service.
Forty-seven Red Hands and two banners were created. Conversations will continue about followers of Jesus and our ministries in the public arena.