The Rev. Ray McGee believes no child of God should experience loneliness and despair. He calls the church to care as Jesus cares.
REV. RAY McGEE
Senior Pastor, Grosse Pointe UMC
I am thinking about a lunch I had with a colleague. The name, church, and even the denomination this person serves will remain private — it’s not that important, as you will see. This friend had been raised in a church (a child of a pastor), serving in all of the positions one might expect. Upon graduating from college, they decided to dedicate their life to serving God as a clergy person. They entered seminary, completed that, and then embarked upon a life of pastoral ministry.
During the conversation over our meal, I discovered my friend struggled with a sense of loneliness due to the “walls of isolation” that had built even as various ministries were engaged in. It seemed as though the more this person “lived into” their call to ministry, the more isolated they felt. Each new endeavor, each new “position,” brought with it a real — or perceived — need to protect one’s image. Today, this person, this friend, this colleague and, even more important, this sacred child of the Living God, feels lost and lonely.
Loneliness. I have a question. Is this really what God intended when Jesus called the disciples to go into the entire world and be witnesses for a greater good? Did the church, as an institution of God, forget the example of Jesus himself who was willing to make himself vulnerable so as to lift another from their sin, hurt, or isolation? Has the church, over the centuries, created an isolated and isolating fraternity that discourages a person from realizing the full potential God intended for each person?
In our United Methodist Church and most other denominations, we find ourselves embracing a statement similar to this:
“Primary for us is the gospel understanding that all persons are important because they are human beings created by God and loved through and by Jesus Christ and not because they have merited significance.”
It follows that our task, as a church and as people of faith and integrity, is to:
- See ourselves as loved and accepted.
- See others as loved and accepted.
- Work to create an environment in which all are welcomed by God and God’s people.
My hope is that you experience the boundless love of the Almighty. I pray that each of you finds ways to serve the Lord with all of your heart, mind, and strength and allow God to love you for who you are and whose you are. May we all discover new ways to build community for one another as we journey into the future.
~ Rev. Ray McGee shares, with Michigan Conference Communications, this reflection he first penned for The Pastor’s Corner of The Grosse Pointe News.
Last Updated on March 3, 2020