Monday, February 11, 2013

God Bless Benedict

I heard the news this morning, news that hasn't been heard for the last 600 years - the Pope has resigned. That's right, resigned. In the statement released by the Vatican this morning, Benedict said that he examined his own conscience before God and came to the decision that he was no longer physically able to meet the demands of his ministry and should step down allowing the church to select new, more physically able leadership.

Of course, the pundits will have their own ideas and theories as to why the Pope is stepping down. Certainly the Roman Catholic Church has been taking its hits lately, and no doubt the stress of such serious problems must weigh heavily upon the man at the top. But I choose to accept Benedict's decision at face value and I respect him for doing what no Pope has done in the past six centuries.

It is no small thing to step down, to step aside, to give up power and position in order to promote the greater good. Too many priests/pastors/preachers these days seem to lose sight of a basic and vital truth. The work of God is much bigger and more important that those who work for God. Or, to put it in the words of my father spoken to me on my ordination, "Drew, never forget that you are not nearly as important as the One who sent you."

What matters above all is God's Kingdom work, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, and being His Church, the Body of Christ in this world. No person or position in any church matters more than the church's mission. Beware of those larger than life religious personalities who may be tempted to build their own kingdom instead of God's.

I admire Pope Benedict more this morning than I did yesterday. I admire this humble act of stepping down having finished his own work, and his desire to see the work go forward beyond himself. It reminds me of the words of another remarkable minister of many years ago, John Wesley: "God buries His workmen and carries on His work." Not a bad epitaph for all of us minister types.  

1 comment:

prym said...

Thank you, Drew, for wise words.