Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Be an Ambassador Not a Bystander!

Dear  Friends,

Last week, the common lectionary for Ash Wednesday liturgies reminded us “ we are ambassadors for Christ as if God were appealing through us. (2Cor.5.20)” Ambassadors, in this sense, are sent to befriend with the Word of God people who live by other rules in other places, to speak the truth incarnated in the Word Made Flesh  courageously, and to be conduits for fruitful, respectful two way interchange. Standing at the head of the Lenten season, this call to be ambassadors for Christ adds another dimension to our Lenten practices as we move together toward Easter. Be ambassadors, not bystanders.

Bystanders  is a word that is only found in the Synoptic Gospels, Mark, Matthew and Luke.  In a piece written earlier in his career, the 2014 Poet Laureate Charles Wright, describes as bystanders the crowds of people who watched Jesus but did  nothing more.
                Always they sit
                At the center of things,
                Circles of conversation,
                Camps of opinion,
                Themselves so long
                Housed in the outskirts
                Of their own emotions they
                Occupy there
                Merely such neutral ground
                As keeps the peace
                Or honor.
                They leave
                No fingerprints
                On what their hands touch,
                Their story is how they
                Sidestep involvement, how
                They stay of two minds
                And now, finding
                Themselves at last
                Out in the open,
                Maneuverings unsuccessful,
                They answer only
                What they don’t feel,
                What they don’t know,
                What they are not.

What will our personal choice be this Lent? Shall we be ambassadors for the Holy One in the world around us, or bystanders only?
~Sister Joan Sobala, SSJ