Reflection of the Week - 11 August 2020

By Rev Wendy Prior, Staff Chaplain, Synod of SA

Posted in Faith

This was not the way I intended to spend my day! Recently, instead of my set plans, I had to rescue my sister after the car she borrowed from me broke down. We spent the day catching up on many tasks still waiting to be done from moving our mum into residential care and that had been delayed by COVID-19 restrictions.

For a while I feared my car was going to be too costly to fix. Fortunately, by the end of that day it had been repaired and we collected it – and handed over far more money than I planned to spend!

Nothing about the day happened as we intended, and yet we were able to spend rare time working together, problem-solving and enjoying time together.

How often do our days or months or even years not end up the way we hoped or planned? Sometimes it feels like life has broken down like the car and is being carried off where we didn’t plan. But that is only our small point of view. The following words from Archbishop Oscar Romero offer us a wider perspective.

It helps, now and then, to step back

and take the long view.

The kingdom [of God] is not only beyond our efforts,

it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction

of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.

Nothing we do is complete,

which is another way of saying

that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No programme accomplishes the church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted,

knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything

and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.

This enables us to do something,

and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,

a step along the way,

an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,

but that is the difference between

the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders,

ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen

More from Faith

Subscribe to receive Faith articles by email >


Comments (3)

  1. Sue Ellis 11 august 2020, 17:51 Link
    I love this quote from Romero. It sits nicely alongside the quote from Barth in With Love to the World today — which said " Grace evokes gratitude like the voice evokes an echo: gratitude follows grace like thunder follows lightning." With thanksgiving we pause to give thanks to God for the small, yet signifiant parts we play in the great scheme of things.
    1. Jane McDonald 12 august 2020, 10:11 Link
      Dear Wendy,
      Thank you so much for this timely reminder that, when all is said and done, the work of the Kingdom of God is not about me! It is good to be reminded that, while I bring all that I have and all that I am, it is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in partnership with all God's people that I play my small part.