(Editor’s note: This is from Sharon Roling’s June 7 morning address to Vision 20/20 delegates.)
Good morning everyone! Wow, you sound like you are going to the dentist this morning. Let’s try it again. Good morning, church!
I am Sharon Roling. With Michael Havercamp, I am a co-chair of the Vision 20/20 steering committee. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, school principal and, most importantly, a child of God.
On behalf of the steering committee, Bishop Zinkula, and chancery staff, I welcome you back! To some of you, I say welcome to your first day. Just so you know, this is my first day too! I can share with you that when I came for evening prayer last night, I could feel the stirring of the Holy Spirit in the excitement of those in attendance. It was incredible! It is my prayer that the Spirit continues to dwell and stir our hearts today.
Yesterday, Michael introduced you to the Vision 20/20 themes.
The first theme is Go! Get out of your comfort zone. Just a minute…. This visualization might help you remember. These are what I call my Holy Spirit shoes.
Like your shoes, my shoes help me get to places. Do I usually wear shoes like my Holy Spirit shoes? No — that’s kind of out of my comfort zone. But you know, after I tried them on for the first time, it was a bit weird, but fun. Wore them to confirmation and yes, people noticed. But I was ok with that. I’m wearing them more. The more I wear shoes like my Holy Spirit shoes, the more comfortable I become in going. The more I share my faith story, the more comfortable I become.
Go! Get out of your comfort zone. Pope Francis would say, “Get out of the sacristies.” Meet people where they are.
Build relationships or accompaniment is our second theme. Invest in peoples’ lives. Pope Francis says, “It’s not simply a matter of doing things, but of doing them with meaning and direction.” Being an intentional disciple is being present to others and exemplifying what it means to be the church. When I wear my Holy Spirit shoes, some people think I’m a little weird, some are ok with my shoes, others want a pair for themselves. About two years ago, my former co-worker was initiated into the Catholic Church. At that time, I asked her why she became a Catholic. Her response caught me a bit off guard. She told me, “I wanted what you have.” Build relationships to build the Kingdom of God.
And the third Vision 20/20 theme is Proclaim the Gospel. Proclaim the message that God loves us unconditionally and forgives our imperfections. Live the Gospel’s message by being the Gospel message. One of my favorite Gospel verses is Matthew 28, verses 19-20. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” You know, sometimes my Holy Spirit shoes hurt my feet, but most of the time I have happy feet when I wear them. Go and make disciples! Remember the last few words of that passage. “And know that I am with you until the end of age.” How can we not respond to the call of missionary discipleship knowing that God is by our side?
Delegates — respond to Bishop Zinkula’s call to our diocese…. Put on YOUR Holy Spirit shoes. Go and talk about the immense love our God has for us. If your shoes get a little muddy or if they hurt a bit, that’s ok. That means you are with the sheep.
Just imagine for a minute all of us wearing our Holy Spirit shoes, together, changing our parishes, our local communities, our diocese, our world. Let’s get walking, church, let’s go.