Senior Minister’s Message
Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea
Easter has passed. Jesus has been raised. And Pentecost – the commemoration of God’s Holy Spirit emerging in and from the disciples, inspiring and empowering them to carry on Jesus’ work – is gone too. No more big holy days or seasons until Thanksgiving and Advent roll around again in late November.
So what now?
“The plodding durability of devotion.”
That’s the phrase the writer William Rivers Pitt used recently to describe the life and work of a man named Michael Ratner, who had died the week before. Ratner was an attorney who dedicated his life to, as Pitt put it, “lost causes”. He was president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and throughout his career served those who were the least powerful and least cared about by our leaders and society. The vast majority of people have never heard of Michael Ratner. But there is rarely glory in what Ratner did, little fame in fighting the battles that are right but, more often than not, losing ones – something Jesus’ disciples discovered long ago.
Yes, many of the disciples are famous now. In their time though, the vast majority of people never heard of them either. The work they did on behalf of the least powerful and least cared about by the leaders and societies of the day went largely unnoticed in their immediate time. The battles they fought were often losing ones in the larger context.
But personal glory and fame were never the point for the disciples, just as they weren’t for Michael Ratner. For the disciples, as it is meant to be for us, what mattered was “the plodding durability of devotion”. The disciples knew that they were on God’s side of things; on the “right side of God’s history.” Because of that, they knew their cause was far from a lost one. They knew that the “plodding durability of devotion” is far more the core of our faith than big holy days and seasons. It is the core of a life well lived in God’s eyes. And that, as Pitt says in regard to Michael Ratner, “ain’t nothing”.