As Mennonite Mission Network serves the
church in pursuit of God’s mission of reconciliation,
we recognize the changing context
for that mission. Across the globe, differing
ideas about economic, civic and religious life
are in conflict with each other. In some cases,
these conflicts erupt into war and violence. In
all cases, the conflicts breed fear and suspicion
between nations and people.
The United States isn’t immune to these developments.
A spirit of dissension has intensified
to divide our nation along every possible
line. Rural is pitted against urban, Democrats
against Republicans, traditional observers of
Christianity against progressive, and on and on.
While these battles occupy our hearts and
minds, serious social problems grow worse.
Poverty envelops large swaths of the country,
drug addiction grips our communities, and
racial discrimination is perpetuated through
unjust laws. These are just a few. Instead of
facing these issues and working for solutions,
we revert to looking for scapegoats to blame …
immigrants, refugees, anyone considered
“different” can be found responsible.
Now more than ever, the world needs followers
of Jesus to be the gospel we proclaim.
Following the path Jesus laid for us, through
the power of the Spirit, we must work to bring
good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom
for the prisoners, recovery of sight to the
blind, and to set the oppressed free.
The greatest obstacle for us will be the temptation
to exchange the gospel for something that
appears more expedient. Conventional wisdom
says that wielding power is the way to bring
about peace and justice. In our nation, the most
concentrated power is found in politics and
government. We are urged to put all our energy
into controlling or influencing that power.
The gospel of Jesus tells us something very
different. In the economy of the kingdom of
God, power is found in love, and greatness
is found in being a servant. In the kingdom
of God, even the smallest acts of caring are
marks of discipleship.
Our calling is not to rule the world or even save
it. Ours is to be faithful to Jesus, wherever we
are, in whatever stage of life we find ourselves,
in whatever vocation we’ve been given. Urging
those in power toward more just policies is
part of our work. So is service to the poor and
oppressed, supporting the peaceful resolution
of conflicts, and sharing our hope in Jesus.
As we move forward as a church in these
uncertain times, Mennonite Mission Network
will continue to proclaim the whole full gospel
of Jesus, in word and deed. We do so not with
the expectation that we will right every wrong
in the world—we leave that with confidence
to God—but believing that all we do in God’s
Spirit will have greater impact than we can
imagine, thanks to the unending generosity and
love of God.