The Prayer of Oscar Romero
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is even 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 should be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the 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 produced effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
And there is a sense of liberation in realizing 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 the Lord’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 that is not our own.
-Archbishop Oscar Romero
As I read this quote from Archbishop Romero I am reminded of our own mission statement: “Rooted in Christ, Growing on Broadway, Planting Seeds of Faith, Hope, and Love.” I don’t know that we often realize how profound this mission is, to proclaim together every week that we bury our best (and always imperfect) efforts into the dark and fertile soil of God’s kingdom, knowing that we may or we may not ever see the new life that springs forth. But there it is. There is our work together: to be prophets of a future that is not our own. As we begin this new year as the Body of Christ, my prayer for you and for us is that we might live with gusto into all of the incomplete and imperfect labors to which God is calling!
Grace, peace, and love to you all,