A reflection from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the Jesus Movement
By: Silver Comila
These days are considered to be the church age. An era where there is an increased membership in the church. An era where the proclamation of God’s word spreads to every corner of the world. An era where Christians are called out to serve him by acting and obeying his words.
However, we tend to look at these definitions to be a hotly debated topic just like the time of the Pharisees. Have we ever asked ourselves, what does God really want me to do?
As Episcopalians, we all know and believe that loving God is our first obligation, then comes loving others the way we love God. This has even been outlined in the five marks of our mission but one might get confused how to respond with these two greatest commandments. How the church can show the world that Christianity is a religion of love.
The visitation of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to the Filipino Episcopalians has an answer to these. A man with a strong conviction and a man who is walking his talk. He believed that the way Jesus showed his way to love to all people can convert the nightmares of our own devising into a dream of God’s faithful intention. And Jesus led these to his followers by a strongly meaningful phrase- “follow me.” This does not mean to only follow Jesus in spirit and in truth but to add the fact that there should be a movement. It is a revival, a concrete sign that the Spirit of movement dwells among the people of God. That is why Curry founded the Jesus Movement of the Episcopal Church. Now this sounds an understandable answer. If we want to shout God’s love with each other and with new people, we need to have a movement.
The church was built not just for structural reasons but because of the roots that we need to reclaim. There’s power, strength, energy and vitality in the roots. These are the roots by which we are reconnected in a free will to follow Jesus in an Episcopalian/Anglican way. To please God is to work it out through a movement with his Spirit. God works in movement. These can be evidenced by a lot of ways in the Bible but the most striking of which is the experience of John the Baptist. Why a sinless man would let himself to be baptized if baptism is for the sinners? It was simply for the purpose of letting Jesus lead his Father’s movement to change the world for the nightmare it has. This is one among the purposes of baptism.
The church and all that contains the church should be viewed as a movement rather than an institution. This was all about the life of Jesus. He led it to make God’s dream happen. When we look at our church like this, then it changes everything. The ways of Jesus movement are the ways of his passion and mercy that we need to follow.
Thus, when we are one with the movement, we are one with Christ. This message is not just for the church but for the world. As Episcopalians, our movement begins with love and when we moved with love to God and our neighbor, what a different world we will have.
THE YOUTH AND THE MOVEMENT
The youth can know their role and be a part of the movement by simply involving themselves. The youth is often called the future of the movement, the future of the country and the future of the church. Bishop Curry didn’t talk much about the youth but he strongly encouraged them by saying, “We need you!” By this, it gives us the message that there is really hope from the youth. That given the appropriate care, guidance, support and love, they can contribute an incredible stuff for the world. Never have I heard from people say that they are not needed.
Indeed, just like Timothy who was a young person during Paul’s time, he once initiated a movement of loving, empathizing and giving comfort to those victims of injustice, conflicts and violence.
He also became an outstanding Christian leader by Paul, entrusting him to strengthen the congregations he will visit in line with the apostle’s advice. He was advised not to hold back just because of the differences he have with other members but to always stand for what is right. Timothy lived up to his name’s meaning, “One who honors God.” And as a youth, left an outstanding faith in God’s movement.
There are many Timothys in the SKEP. When they are being loved, treated, and trusted like Paul showed to Timothy, they too, can left an outstanding example of faith and movement for all of us to imitate.