The Rev Ken Houston reflects on Connor Commissioned Ministers Quiet Day which took place on January 26.
Why such events are called “quiet” beats me! Yes, rapt attention was paid to the two addresses given by the Rev John McCammon, but there was lots of enthusiastic, even tuneful, singing, led by Frank Bailie.
There was a general hubbub as participants discussed with one another questions relating to their ministry, and there was lively discussion with the lecturer after each of his talks.
More than 30 Commissioned Ministers from the Diocese attended this event at Belfast Bible College. It was dull and grey outside, but inside there was worship, fellowship and teaching. Morning coffee and lunch were provided by the parochial catering team in St Coleman’s church hall, Dunmurry. This service was gratefully received by the hungry and thirsty CMs, and the meal breaks provided opportunities for getting to know one another better.
John McCammon, one time rector of Lisburn Cathedral Parish, and a CMS missionary in Kenya, is a lecturer at the College. His topic was “The Great Commandment and The Great Commission”. We read in Mark 12: 29 – 31, that Jesus instructed his followers to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and to “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
John carefully unpacked the first instruction in his first address:
• The essence of “love” is “giving”
• With all our “heart” involves excitement, enthusiasm, passion
• One’s “soul” is one’s personality, one’s whole being
• Loving with our “mind” means to understand and to know
• “Strength” implied striving to “finish the race”.
To maintain and build up our love for the Lord we need to spend time with Him every day
In Matthew 28: 18 – 19, we read that Jesus commanded, “Go and make disciples of all the nations”, and thus mission is paramount for the church. This Great Commission was a revolutionary and ambitious command to a bunch of people who had probably never travelled further than from Galilee to Jerusalem and back.
But Jesus also said, “I am with you” and he promised that “You shall receive power” sufficient to meet this calling. Some churches have a poster, visible to the congregation as they leave, “The worship is over; the service now begins.”
The second instruction of the Great Commandment is to “love your neighbour as yourself”. Our neighbour is anyone in need, and in this context, love is “an attitude of unconquerable benevolence that always seeks the highest good of the other.” This is the key to mission work wherever we are called to server – in our parish, our neighbourhood and in unfamiliar places and cultures.
Photos by Ken Houston.