Reaching Out in Mission

by Wayne Schwab

The Spirit is poured out on all for missions or ministries of love and justice.

At Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, to all makes every member a missionary.  Further, for the “eye of faith,” God is at work in everyone – every member and everyone beyond the church – in every creature and throughout the creation.

Prepare to meet and to work with people of other faiths by being secure in your own faith.  You do not have to be skilled in defining or interpreting all of its various beliefs and practices.  You do need to be at home with enough of its beliefs and practices to be at home in it.  Also, be free to be candid about your faith.  Where you are unsure about some parts of your faith, be free to say so.  Being candid affirms both you and the strength of the faith itself.  Most important, you are already on the firmest ground if you are at home with seeing God’s Spirit at work in your daily living and when you sense the Spirit’s help as you pursue your missions and your ministries. You are living a faith that works.

In our time, Paul Tillich has opened the door for us to ally ourselves with people of no faith. [Tillich, Paul, Dynamics of Faith, Harper & Row, 1957] Tillich has taught us to hear in people of no faith an “ultimate concern” which shapes their decisions and actions.

“Ultimate concerns” may vary from freedom, to personal integrity, to success in one’s career.  We see the Spirit at work in all who choose love and justice as their primary values.  Their choice of love and justice as primary has the quality of faith.  We have a common ground.  Our faith in the reality of God is not provable by reason.  Others’ commitment to love and justice as ultimate values is similarly unprovable.  Faith as our ultimate concern puts as all on the same street.  We celebrate and join with people of no faith in any work – “mission” in good word – to make any part of daily life more loving or more just.

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