Most of us, after listening to a daily newscast for about five minutes, can think of many things we would like to change in order to make the world a better place for our grandchildren. Some of the trends involving violence, drug abuse, economic disparities, ecological health and injustices of all kinds are not encouraging. How can this be when Jesus came to bring us life and life abundant?
We recall that Jesus also sent to us an Advocate and promised that we would do even greater things than He had done. What went wrong? Well, a critical mass of us needs to actually accept and develop the gifts of that Advocate and put them to good use in being the shapers of this world, rather than wait for someone else to do the shaping and building. If Christians don’t build the Kingdom of God, Satan will happily be about the building of his kingdom. Ultimately, there is not much neutral.
Kingdom building and nation teaching is a big job and we quickly realize that even endless and heroic individual efforts won’t get the job done. We need to be part of a large, focused and reasonably well-organized group. We need a multi-tiered and diverse organization that supports this mission. This is how I best appreciate the need to be part of a parish, a diocese, a national conference and ultimately, a global Church. This is what motivates me to give to the annual bishop’s appeal, known as the Diocesan Development Drive. The many services and expertise offered by ministers and staff of the Diocese of Salt Lake City provide a critical level of support for the mission of Kingdom building.
This year’s new publications by the Office of Stewardship and Development more closely detail the many services and ministries provided by our diocese. At St. John the Baptist Parish, we are making every attempt to take seriously the mandate of Jesus to “Go forth and teach the nations,” to develop an outward reach that is commensurate with our numbers and resources. We are willing to pay our share and pray that we will find many partners in this diocese to support, not just an institutional apparatus, but a real mission. This successfully executed mission is essential if we want for our grandchildren a world which more resembles the Kingdom of God rather than the alternative.
Fr. Rick Sherman is pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Draper.