This week I've got two things put together in a "Doerksen wrap." The fourth commitment we make in our Baptismal Covenant is "to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves." "I will with God's help" we say when the question is asked and that is not an honorific because, truly, without God's help "there ain't no way..."
We are saying that we will look for Jesus in all we meet, that is, we will recognize that God is present in everyone even when it seems that is not the case. Further we commit to serving them, that is, treating them as we ourselves would like to be treated, giving them the benefit of the doubt and helping them where they need help. This doesn't mean we allow ourselves to be manipulated or used for, as we remember, we are to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, but this will be difficult simply for the reason that this goes beyond "being nice to people," or "serving at our convenience."
We are promising to speak the truth in love when others need to hear it and be open to them doing the same. Further our stewardship of time, talent and treasure promises to help strangers just as much as we help family which carries the implication that we plan our lives so that there is "room for others."
Being part of the Church really helps with this because it is our joint efforts that make this possible. To give one practical illustration, though the majority of any offerings we give supports the ministry of St. Philips, a portion of that giving is also shared with our wider diocesan ministries, with the wider Anglican church nationally (including a dedicated portion that goes to the Church of the North) and with the worldwide communion and it's works of charity and mercy. We are, by virtue of being part of this community, and assuming we give material gifts, already in possession of the downpayment on this commitment! From there we can let it grow.
The "filling" for the "Doerksen wrap" is an opportunity to join with "strangers" next Sunday at 4:30 at Saanich Commonwealth Place for the annual World Religions Conference in which representatives of different religions share a 10 minute message on a particular topic. I will be one of the presenters. This year's topic is "Kindness and Kinship." After hearing each of the representatives share their particular faith's vision of the topic we join together in a meal. It's free! If this is something you're interested in I hope to see you there!