Presentation by J Trevor Jones to the PCC of Santa Margarita at the meeting in January 2017.
We have so far considered the first four Marks of Mission:-
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.
Each of these four clearly relates to people, to our thoughts, feelings and actions toward other fellow human beings (our neighbours) and their spiritual and physical welfare.
But now we come to the fifth and final ‘Mark’ which is:-
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
Why then should the fifth ‘Mark’ relate to creation? Should we think about global warming, melting glaciers, shrinking rain forests, endangered wildlife species, holes in the ozone layer and such like? Yes, we should. Should we be thinking of our using of God given resources to create bombs and other means of destruction? Yes, we should. Are we thinking perhaps about profligacy and more reaping for self and less about sowing for others? Perhaps, we are.
But, let us start at the beginning. God created the world before He created man – and it was good. He then created man and it was still good. His creation of the world and man, completed over six days, was one good harmonious whole. But then, firstly, Adam contaminated mankind with sin and the ground was cursed and then secondly, Cain contaminated the ground with the blood of the murdered Abel. We broke the harmonious relationship between ourselves and God and ourselves and the world.
How is reconciliation possible? How can we be reconciled to God? We know that only God can make it possible and that He has made it possible. We know that by personal belief, by faith, in our Lord Jesus, His teachings and His sacrifice we and mankind can be reconciled to God. This faith can be lived out in practice by pursuing the first four ‘Marks of Mission’.
We now must strive for reconciliation with the world. God gave us dominion over His creation, the world. Let us pray for strength for us to exercise this dominion as He intended. Let us consider our carbon footprints, our management of the land, our protection of wild life and the like. Let us use God given resources to create not bombs but medicines. Let us think more about sharing with others and sowing both for those we share with now and for future generations. Let us in practice pursue the fifth ‘Mark of Mission’.
May the mission of our mission Church of Santa Margarita be to pursue all these ‘Five Marks’, honouring God and working toward bringing us closer to the one beautiful, lively, loving, harmonious whole creation that He always intended.
Thanks and praise be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit united in our enterprise!
J Trevor Jones