Charlie Buttrey

February 21, 2019

While I was in Puerto Rico last week, I worked with a group of 10 others, and over the course of the week, we worked to fix the roofs on three houses.  The difference we made was, frankly, infinitesimal. There are literally thousands of homes that are still damaged from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island 18 months ago. And even fixing the roofs for those three families didn’t mean the work on those homes was done; there was still plenty of work to be done to repair the damage.

But we did what we could do, however insignificant.  And the effort called to mind a prayer I read, which was written by the liberal Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, in 1980. It should remind as us that, while the best we can do probably makes very little difference in the whole scheme of things, it does makes a difference. Which is really all any one of us can do.

 

We are Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a 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 a 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 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 produces 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 not our own.

 

© 2019 Charlie Buttrey Law by Nomad Communications