This prayer, written by Bishop Ken Untener (1937-2004), reminds us of our earthly journey, our spiritual ministry, and our ongoing mission. It speaks to me, particularly, as I complete my assignment at Saint Charles Borromeo Parish and begin a new task at Rockhurst University and parishes in Kansas City’s urban center. The work we do is always incomplete.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long, loving look at life.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about. We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.
As I arise and go forth from one parish assignment to another task, I am grateful to participate in a far larger mission, part of a yet bigger undertaking, orchestrated by an exceedingly greater power, a small piece of a much grander divine plan.