Director’s Message

 

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Cultivating Truth

In order to prepare for the new year, I spend time examining my life and ministry from the year that just ended. This sacred time of preparation has become one of my formation practices. One of the essential ways in which I experience the presence of God in my life is paying attention to the details and circumstances of the one life I have been given to live.
Last year was a difficult year. COVID-19. Racism. Massive loss of life. Teleworking. Missing in-person gatherings. Then came the deaths of significant people I loved deeply.

The prayerful examination of 2020 allowed me the opportunity to slow down, touch and feel the sorrow, heartbreak, anxiety and uncertainty of last year. The break over Christmas was time to pay attention to the emotions I rushed or ignored so that I could deal with the next problem or issue in front of me.

This time of slowing down has given me the desire to engage more deeply my life and faith in each and every day. I don’t want to wait again until the end of the year to experience deeply the pain and hurt that I cast aside to move back into the demands of life and ministry. The image I have for myself this year is that I will not move faster than I can move on my knees. Now, I must admit that I was even wondering if this sort of lifestyle is possible in the ministry that I have taken on again in a new year.

Then, we were hit in the gut on Wednesday, Jan. 6, with images of a mob of people attempting to bring down our democracy. I was literally brought to my knees. I finished up some work, but then I prayed about what on earth is required of me in a time like this. I was horrified and heartbroken. I was disturbed by all the lies and false claims over the last four years that brought forth the carnage yesterday.

How do I respond? That’s the question that haunted me into the night. In the morning, I woke up committed to living on my knees. As I go forward, I desire to go deeper into God’s love and grace. The gospel is calling me to do three things right now:

  • Bear witness to and cultivate the truth that brings the light of Jesus to the lies and false narratives around me.
  • Do justice, which is joining God and others in eradicating poverty and dismantling racism.
  • Love God and others and offer the hope of the fulness of life.

As I travel deeper in my faith and bear witness to the love of God, my desire is to live in the way of Ephesians 5:1–2:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with God and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” (The Message)

By God’s grace, maybe, just maybe, this is enough. And I want to travel only as far as my knees will carry me.

Grace,

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Ray Jones
Director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism