We Are Not God

“We are not God. We are ministers – companions on the journey.”*

Bonnie Anderson, describes the Episcopal Church’s “circle of ministries” as a practice of equal exchange and honor, drawing upon the unique charism of each individual, whether God calls us as lay, diaconal, presbyteral or episcopal. Each of us have been given gifts from the Spirit to do the work we have been given to do, to build up the body of Christ. But we are not God; as are called to care for others we also need to care for ourselves.

As educators (from all the ‘orders’ of ministry) there are questions to keep us grounded:

  • What reminds you of who you are and whose you are?
  • What reminds you of your brokenness and helps make you whole?

What might you add to this list?

  • Friendships
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Balance
  • Allowing myself to be ministered to
  • A peer group
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Re-creating in God’s world
  • Learning to say “no” (and recognizing what motivates me to say “yes” all the time
  • To step back and remove myself from conflict when possible
  • Take on a new role by volunteering outside of work

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord* has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ* dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 (NRSV)

*This week I am attending a Christian Formation at Kanuga Conference Center, located in the Smoky Mountains in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The above quote is from Kate Gillooly, minister for Christian formation and program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In one of her keynote addresses, we explored the pastoral nature of the role of a Christian educator and how we care for ourselves while caring for others.

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