For the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the Christian gospel and in consideration of your influence as an ordained minister, are you willing to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life; and to this end will you agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to physical health, intentional intellectual development, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, integrity in all personal relationships, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God?
Above all, this question is about whether I am committed to not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk. In a word, yes!
I must admit there are times when the weight of this task and calling feels very heavy. I am only human, after all, and I am still on this Christian journey, just like the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ. What I can do, however, is to embody a healthy and constructive lifestyle to the best of my ability and empower the congregation to do so in their on lives. But where I struggle personally, I must not hide my sin, but I must be honest and ask my congregation to join me as I wrestle to be more faithful.
Our world is torn in two by excess and lack of basic necessities. We see it in dietary illnesses like obesity and anorexia, in the sexual scandals of religious leaders and politicians and sports stars, in the consumerism that runs rampant while children are dying for lack of shelter and medicine. And all of these things we hide or we forget as we rush to make sure the bulletins are printed or the ushers are doing their jobs. Our faithfulness as Christians – our dedication to the highest ideals of the Christian life – come not from these menial tasks, but in how we care for our bodies and the bodies of those around us; how we advocate for our own mental health and that of those around us; how we use and not abuse the soil and the water and the air that surrounds us. All of these must have a place not only in my personal life, but in the worship I share with my congregation and in the witness of our church.