Cherokee Presbytery voted today on Amendment 10-A to the Book of Order. If you are not familiar with it, you can download it here.
I have felt called to speak in favor of the issue for a while, and so I did at today’s meeting. The amendment was defeated, and I am dissapointed. I wanted to post the write-up of what I prepared to say. We had a 2 minute time limit, and so I did some editing on the fly, but this was the final draft that I took with me to the pulpit.
My name is Julie Jensen, and I am the Associate Pastor in Cartersville, speaking for the amendment today.
The phrase “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in ALL aspects of life” is one of reason I will vote for amending the Book of Order today. Currently, the standards tell us to lead lives “in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church”, singling out one area for specific mandates. But where is the mandate for us to live in joy? Aren’t we the joyful people of God? We are people who preach, teach and proclaim the joy of the resurrection as integral to who we are and what we believe – -we proclaim the joy of our salvation in Jesus Christ, isn’t living joyfully in obedience to Christ part of our call? Living in obedience to Christ is not drudgery, dismal, or miserable. It is indeed a joyful thing.
The new language proclaims that there is not one area of our lives that is outside realm of Jesus Christ. We are called to submit to Jesus Christ in ALL aspects of life. Not just in the bedroom, but also the boardroom, the classroom, the church, and the car. We are to give ourselves in our entirety to Christ. The Heidelberg Catechism echoes here…” What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I belong – body and soul – not to myself but to my faithful savior Jesus Christ …” how does it end? “…therefore by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
That’s what we promise when we are ordained – that we are wholeheartedly willing and ready to live for Christ. That we accept the scriptures as God’s word to us, that we will be guided by them and bound by the confessions, that we adopt the essential tenants of the reformed faith, and will be governed by the polity of our church; to be a friend among our colleagues and seek the peace, unity and purity of the church. We promise to serve with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love. This amendment calls us to focus on the promises we make –to examine the deeper truths– who we are and what we believe about Jesus. Rather than spending time figuring out what someone is, we can talk about who they are and how they are called to submit joyfully to Christ in all aspects of life.