Director’s Message

 

Ray Jones portrait

I cannot believe we are here at the beginning of 2020. What happened to 2019? In the midst of Advent preparation and the celebration of Christmas, we not only experienced the pain and joy of our lives, but the pain and joy of our world. And this pain and joy are connected. What happens to other people actually happens to us.

Therefore, I have been overwhelmed lately with the chaos of national decision-making, the threat of war, the fires in Australia and the earthquake in Puerto Rico. When others suffer, I suffer. When fires rage out of control and earthquakes devastate the lives of people on this planet, my heart aches. When people are killed in Iran and Iraq, my heart breaks.

In the midst of a hectic first week back into the ministry of the PMA, a colleague shared with me the latest Matthew 25 video.

The video is a snapshot of the transformation that occurs in all of us when we are caring for one another. It reminded me again of why I do what I do. It reminded me of the cause of the gospel. It reminded me of my need, deep need, for Jesus.

The first chapter of Mark is both exhilarating and exhausting. The way is prepared for Good News. Jesus is baptized with the Holy Spirit coming upon him with power and love. God’s reign is being ushered into the world. Disciples are called to follow the way of love, hope and justice. Evil is confronted and cast out. Sick people are healed. But in the midst of all this activity, Jesus takes the time to go to a lonely place to experience God’s power and love.]

I am becoming more and more convinced that I need that lonely place to encounter God’s loving purpose. In this purpose, I know who I am and the truth on which I stand. I am emboldened to speak out and confront evil. But I also trust the God of power and love to lead me and to inspire and equip the church for work of reconciliation, hope and justice in the world.

The work of Henri Nouwen has been important to me at the beginning of this new year. In “Finding My Way Home” he writes, “This brief lifetime is my opportunity to receive love, deepen love, grow in love, and give love.” I can dream of nothing better than God’s love that changes all things.

I know I say this each month, but I want to express again how grateful I am for you and our shared ministry. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are Christ for the world as we offer hope, do justice and join in God’s reconciling work for the world.

Grace,
Ray Jones
Director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism