Friday, March 30, 2018

For Easter Sunday 4/1/18, "Alleluia! Jesus Lives!"

Early one morning the spring of 1987, while in prayer and meditating on the deck behind our house, a moment of vision opened in my mind.  I stood near a mountaintop of high elevation.  Sensing a person ahead and nearby, already at the top of the mountain, I looked up and saw Jesus.  He motioned for me to come closer.  When I reached his side, I saw the entire expanse of the Earth.  I saw oceans, snow-covered mountains, vasts beautiful stretches of land that took my breath away. With a sweeping motion of his arm over everything I saw, Jesus said, "In all these places shall you minister."

As the moment of vision closed and I sensed returning to myself, I felt a peace within me heightened by the warmth of the morning spring sun upon my face that moment in Independence, Missouri.  Drawing my meditation time to a close,  I thought to myself, "That was nice."  However, a few moments later in our kitchen getting breakfast ready for my family, I started trembling as the realization dawned up on me that for the first time in my life, I met Jesus face to face.  A few weeks later, my church denomination at the time asked me to enter full time professional ministry.

In the thirty plus years that have followed, I have indeed ministered in many different places and witnessed some of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Perhaps one flight in a small commuter turbo-prop plane to Valdez, Alaska, as a bishop to assist a young adult family with their estate plan most emulated that moment of vision involving Christ so many years ago.  The Earth's beauty astounded me and I wished I could hang there in the air forever beholding that moment.

Now, all these years later and no longer a part of that church denomination to which I gave over fifty years of my life as a bishop, priest, and member of the church, I today (3/30/18) walked the halls at work of the Catholic Medical Center where I work as a psychotherapist in Eugene, Oregon (where my youngest was born in 1988) and today observed the writing on many different walls of our medical center's mission statement- reflected as well in the emails received today from our Spiritual Care Office and from our CEO -- all of whom offered prayers of remembrance this Good Friday and made offerings of acknowledgement today from our administration for Physicians and Advance Practice Clinicians such as myself.  From all this, I realize I am where Christ intends that I be -- continuing the healing mission of Jesus the Christ. I am offering ministry that has always been my wildest dream but escaped me in so many other places of ministry in the past.  And as I watch the Passion of the Christ in my living room this evening, I can only hope that the 27 people I saw this week for psychotherapy took a step closer toward their own healing -- especially in the divisive times in which we live when some so derangedly think the world belongs only to them. What I have to say to them is this, "For soon comes the Just and Peaceable Reign of God."

To you all, have a blessed Easter and may the Spirit of Christ be with you always! 

Brad Shumate
Free of Encumbrance
Eugene, Oregon USA