Ubuntu !!!!???? No – Reflections on the Episcopal Convention

“There’s no doubt about the theme of this Convention. It is all about togetherness, about Ubuntu, that “I am because we are.”” So said a friend of mine about GC 2009.  Another colleague wrote this about the “public narrative” way of doing Convention business: – “Does a normal church organize an entire national conference thematically around the search for “ourselves, our stories, our stories of us, our stories of now”?

I read and I wondered!  Something is wrong here!  Today during my quiet time I read from Oswald Chambers.  These words are his: – ‘The aim of the spiritual saint is “that I may know Him.” Do I know Him where I am to-day? If not, I am failing Him. I am here not to realize myself, but to know Jesus.”

I found myself back on center.  It is indeed all about Jesus and not about who we are, what we experience, unless it is in Jesus.  Testimony is about how Jesus has brought me to be here today, to serve as I can the Gospel and his Kingdom.  It is not about my feelings, wants and “entitlements” but supremely about what He, Jesus, wants of me.  To put it another way – He is the MASTER – I am simply His servant, or perhaps better put, His slave.

I am more and more struck by the need for me to abandon myself to Christ.  In that abandonment comes all the joy, peace and delight of the Christian as well as sharing in the pain of Jesus.  If I seek only joy, peace and delight without Jesus then I am no different from the average American who is pursuing happiness (usually understood self-centeredly) in what ever way available, and certainly very individualistically.  If I pursue Jesus, abandon myself to Jesus, then ALL changes!

The result is not the superficial happiness but deep joy, peace and delight.  This is mixed with the searing pain of our crucified Lord who weeps over Jerusalem, the pain of the world, and who cries out for forgiveness for those who crucify him, again and again.

In spite of what the aviator, oceanographer turned priest and bishop who leads the Episcopal Church may say, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”  The prayer book question is as follows; “Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior”?  The answer is “I DO.”  To follow Jesus as savior and Lord is a personal decision, a personal commitment.

I am because He is.


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4 responses to “Ubuntu !!!!???? No – Reflections on the Episcopal Convention

  1. Marty McCall

    Amen, Ian. Vickie and I had just read todays Oswald before I checked my facebook and saw your response to the conference. What a great centering word! I loved looking at your photos as well…and the work you and Polly are doing. Will pray for you both. Vickie and I send love, mm

  2. Gloria Johnson

    Well said, Ian! It IS all about Jesus and not us. We look forward to the day when you and Polly will be back in Peru. Love in Christ, Gloria and Sandy in Arequipa

  3. Lou

    I agree so much with you and the above comments. We have become so enamored with “searching for ourselves” . Lately the need to die to self and live for Christ seems to have just been pounded into my brain over and over. I remember the day I accepted Him as my Savior- I also remembered the day the penny dropped and I really understood what it meant to receive Him as Lord.
    Bless you Ian

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