Real Mission: The 501(c)(3) Dating Scene
Throughout these past five months there has been little cause for celebration. The physical isolation and monotony of daily life has been, at times, comforting; but also, extremely boring for an extrovert like me. I’ve enjoyed being with my family, and I’ve enjoyed working in my garden, but mostly, I’m like, “where are all the people?".
This past weekend, we found some of them at a beautiful celebration of love between two amazing people. Last week, my husband and I made the choice to travel just outside of our comfort zone to be with close friends and family in Washington D.C. so that we could be with Chris’s twin brother and my new sister-in-law as they entered into the covenant of marriage.
I was honored to bless the union and after reading the opening salutation, I couldn’t help but think, “that’s what real mission is like too."
The union…in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity…Therefore [Mission] is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. -BCP, pg. 423
I found myself thinking, what does it mean to be married to mission, married to a cause, married to real, transformative, life-giving work in the name of Jesus?
What does it look like to give your heart, body, and mind to reconciliation and restoration? What would our community look like if we were fully committed to restoring all people to unity with God and each other in Christ?
In my experience of being married to mission, there has been a great deal of mutual joy. I’ve learned how to build a home, how to sit on a front porch step and not be in a rush to leave. I’ve served meals and made art, and laughed, and marched.
There has also been adversity and many difficult conversations. I’ve had to look poverty in the face. I’ve had to witness the reality of children without homes, without food. I’ve had to own my white privilege and face the reality that my black and brown brothers and sisters live in a system that benefits me and is set against them. I’ve watched people scream and cry and lie out of desperation. Being married to mission has been a beautiful and difficult union.
One day, maybe long ago, a priest poured water on your head, prayed the prayers, called upon the name of God, gave the blessing, and you became a Christian. Vows were exchanged and promises were made, and everything changed. Maybe you were a baby. I was. But what old married couple do you know that wouldn’t look back at photos from that day and say, “Oh my, we were just babies.” No matter when or how it happened, the result is the same.
You are married to mission.
Maybe you haven’t been baptized yet. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s really a pledge your willing to make. No matter where you are on the journey, no matter what your age, such a life changing endeavor often requires a leap of faith and a trust that you will figure it out along the way.
It is a commitment that requires a great deal of humility and patience, hard work, dedication, and flexibility. It is a life-long loyalty that demands creativity and imagination. It is an opportunity to find your best self while loving others enough to allow them the same benefit. It is often inconvenient and sometimes uncomfortable, but there is nothing quite so beautiful.
Near the end of the marriage service, in the prayers, we say,
Grant that all married persons who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed. -BCP, pg. 430
It is the point in the service where we remind many of those gathered that they too have made the same promises, the same vows that they just witnessed. It’s where we say, hey, you said you would do this too. You said that you would be faithful and that you would show up, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.
In this life, you are married to mission.
God knows how hard it is, after all, she’s married to us. But God also knows how wonderful it all is. God sees us caring for one another, sharing our time, our money, our food. God sees us putting our bodies on the line and our signatures on the line, and our selfish ambitions to the side.
God is married to you, and you are married to mission.
May you find your lives strengthened, and your loyalties confirmed.
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