Soul Food: Make Room for Mending
“Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ, and stewards of God’s mysteries.”
–I Corinthians 4:1
Siblings in Christ,
I write from Karlsruhe, Germany, working here with the World Council of Churches, the Ecumenical Forum for Korean peace. I led a bible study on Joseph and his brothers on how the biblical imagination might open the door for reconciliation and forgiveness. I was moved by the Spirit’s power to bring the world together with concern for peace and touched by how long my people have suffered.
It has me thinking of you, my beloved in Wisconsin, the disunity, the divisiveness, the appointments being de-stabilized, but also the Spirit’s majestic power. We know our God is the one mending brokenness in our personal walk with Jesus and our collective ministry as an annual conference—and as a people who are servants and stewards of Christ in a broken world.
When I told my cabinet that I was praying about new superintendents last January, I said, ‘life is about making room for others.’ Who is not at the table? What are the threats and opportunities before us? Joseph made room in his heart for his brothers and for a newness between them. They share a common father who is still alive in their thinking and action. Some at the table need to make room. Some need to share service. All of us are stewards of a mutual garment of destiny, of a Kingdom of mutual benefit in Christ.
The Christian faith is going through a period when we no longer represent the establishment, but due to secularization, we are increasingly a people who have been disestablished. Yet, Jesus is there among the disestablished, among those crucified on the edges, and our movement will be refined and strengthened when we do not expect popular members of the establishment to proclaim the gospel for us, or for democracy to make one religion safe over others. We were always meant to be in solidarity with the disestablished by following Jesus there.
Life is about making room to be servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries with no guarantee that it will be easy. Rather, when we are sent with difficult ministry ahead, we are promised by the risen one, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the close of the age.’
When we are touched by the healing of the Holy Spirit, we walk with an authentic embodiment of the incarnate one. Practical divinity has no room to speak ill but rather to edify and build up the body. The Kingdom is always marked by the newness of making room in one’s soul for the stranger Christ presented to us. Let us open that door and with it, be open to tones of harmony, reformation, and solidarity with wherever the prince of peace leads. The mission is outward and self-giving if we will be servants of Christ.
Dear Ones, I am so grateful for your ministry. Know that I am praying for you.
Bishop, Wisconsin Conference
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).