Faith Stories: Be Appropriate and Be Prepared
I remember learning the importance of “being prepared” back in the second grade. We only had two rules that year. 1) Be appropriate and 2) be prepared. I was fascinated by these rules- basically everything fell under them. You couldn’t talk without raising your hand because that would not be appropriate and you could not forget your homework at home because then you were not prepared. I remember being mesmerized that literally every scenario I could think of fell under those two rules. Throughout my time at U-High I really learned the importance of being prepared. I would make sure my booksack had everything it needed for the next day and set it by the door the night before school, and I used my planner religiously (a discipline I still follow today).
I consider my interest in rules and structure one of the leading reasons for why I wanted to become an attorney. The first general rule of thumb for a law student is to be prepared. As I learned in my first year of law school, where under the Socratic method of teaching, a student not prepared for class is excused for the day, with a certainty that he/she will be called on in the following class. Fortunately, I have never had an issue with that.<
My interest in rules continues to follow me. This semester in school I am doing significant research and writing on the rule of law as it relates to common law jurisdictions and their recent exodus from and objection of international courts. You can ask me later about what all of that other stuff is and I will be more than happy to discuss it with you, but I want to focus here on the theory of the rule of law. The rule of law, in its simple form is defined by F.A. Hayek as, “government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand – rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge.” Basically, knowing what the rules are prepares the individual and the trier of fact for following and enforcing the rules.
Significantly though, my interest in rules could not be more evident than my love for the United Methodist Church. We are a body shaped by God with a strong Wesleyan influence of guiding rules. In fact, I am proud to claim that as a result of notifying the Publisher at the United Methodist Publishing House, regarding a formatting error, I am an official editor of our rulebook, the Book of Discipline. Without a doubt though, my love for the UMC started right here at St. John’s. My relationship with Christ would not be what it is today but for St. John’s and your continuous love and support over the years. I simply cannot begin to list all that you have done for me, so just know that it is extensive. And with that, I can say that I will be here no matter what, regardless of what our buildings look like. Although, I fully endorse our capital campaign and building projects for the following reasons.
It was May 2012 and my first Sunday as a staff member at St. John’s. Coincidentally, it was the same Sunday that our Youth Ministry Architects presented their report to the congregation, following their consultation the prior week. Not much longer after that, the church council was presented with three important proposals that were identified as immediate action steps in the YMA report. One of those identified action steps relating to the modernization of our buildings.
What I love is that God has continuously said YES to our building committee and its plans. It seems as though God has wanted us to focus our resources, time and energy into this project. For that I am thankful. I have had the privilege of following the plans for the building projects and the capital campaign every step of the way. Specifically, I have gotten my love for rules and being prepared from the best of them, my mother – who has endlessly been involved in the workings of our building committee and capital campaign. I am confident that she and her respective teams took every step with caution, precision and would not be here now if they were not fully prepared. I can honestly say that after all of the hard work over the last three years that I know we are prepared.
When I push my theory on the rule of law to its furthest boundaries we get the idea that to be successful, you need to prepared, and to be prepared you need rules to follow.
Jesus Christ asks us to follow Him.
Over the last several years I have seen St. John’s following Christ like never before. We have and continue to set and re-set the bar for both ourselves and other congregations around us on what it means to feed people, to glorify God and to make disciples. And because of that, I think He has prepared us for this Walk together.
As presented during 8:30 a.m. worship on October 11, 2015