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A Message from APC President...



APC President Joseph Perez MDiv BCC
 

APC Forum, August 2020, Vol. 22 No. 5

Dear APC Friends and Colleagues,

We continue to journey through life in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, social unrest and injustice, and the stressors of our individual lives.  In addition to society's chaos, we still have lives to live, work to do, bills to pay, and care to give to family, friends and neighbors.  As in coping with the different seasons of our personal lives, we may feel overwhelmed and wonder what to do with the present "mess" we find ourselves in.
 
Thomas Merton's prayer (a prayer that sits on my desk) speaks to being overwhelmed and lacking direction. 

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact
that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
You will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.  Amen
Thomas Merton in "Thoughts in Solitude"

 
How do we remain directed and keep our connection with what is Holy, to be used for the greater purpose for which we have been called?  The desire to serve and "please" the Holy is foundational to all who seek holistic life.  Our human design naturally feels overwhelmed at times, and this created vulnerability within us is a catalyst for us to forever seek to be connected to the holistic relationships in our lives.  Can you see the reciprocal principle here?  We need the connections to holistic relationships to stay healthy ourselves just like we are called to this same purpose for our neighbors.  The prayer concludes with the hope that we are never alone in our life and service challenges.  This awareness occurs as we stay connected to our holistic relationships and community.  As Dr. Bernice King, minister and daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said:  Your mess is your ministry!— reminding us that the challenges of life cultivate opportunities for greater integration and interaction with our holistic relationships. 
 
APC, as well, continues to strive to be a holistic community resource for us.  Click here to access the APC resources.
 
May we, with help from all that is Holy, see the messes in life as opportunities for ministry/service with the hope that we are not alone to face them!

Joseph Perez MDiv BCC is the Vice President for Mission & Ministry at Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen & Brownsville, TX. He serves as President of the APC Board and may be contacted at president@professionalchaplains.org.