A Moment for Mission
“By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.” — Psalm 65:5, NRSV
“I studied and worked in the Philippines at a time of political turmoil and economic despair,” the Rev. Liberato “Levi” Bautista recalled. “That context shaped my outlook on how people might join God’s action for justice and peace to better the world. Activism against martial law, while holding responsible national and international church and ecumenical positions, shaped my thinking.”
Today, Bautista is assistant general secretary for United Nations and International Affairs at the General Board of Church and Society. In that role, he is the main representative of The United Methodist Church at the UN. As an international nongovernmental organization, GBCS holds a consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
For 44 years, Bautista has served in leadership positions at various levels with social and ecumenical groups. He was the first layperson elected secretary of the Philippines Central Conference of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines and today is an ordained deacon in full connection.
We observe United Nations Day on October 24, the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force. The inaugural General Assembly of the UN was held at the Methodist Central Hall at Westminster in London, part of the British Methodist Church.
As the United Methodist Book of Discipline (Par. 165D) states, “We reaffirm our historic concern for the world as our parish and seek for all persons and peoples full and equal membership in a truly world community.”
Have you ever heard, “The world is our parish”? More than 200 years ago, a man named John Wesley started what would become The United Methodist Church. He believed we should love and serve people all over the world, not just in our own neighborhood and not only people who look and act like us.
How do we follow Wesley’s words today? Do we invite others to worship with us? Do we open our church building for community activities and special events like health fairs? Do we help people in other places, especially those who’ve experienced a disaster? Do we share special offerings for people in faraway countries we may never visit?
When we do these things, our parish widens far beyond our church building!
Loving God, you call us to treat the world as our parish and to welcome all of your children into a truly global community. Thank you for the work of the United Nations. We love you. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost — God of the universe, you were with us at the beginning of our lives, and you will be by our side when we draw our last breath. In between, we struggle through life, too often trying to find our way based on our own wants and desires. In our giving to you this day, may you bless us so that we might better keep our eyes focused on you, that one day we might be able to echo your servant Paul as he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. We pray this in the name of Jesus who loved us even to the cross! Amen. (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18)
The Rev. Liberato “Levi” Bautista, assistant general secretary for United Nations and International Affairs at the General Board of Church and Society, asserts that the local and the global are simultaneous realities. Whether in the Philippines, New York or anywhere else, churches and faith-based groups can live their faith, seeking justice and pursuing peace.
“I look upon all the world as my parish,” said Methodism’s founder John Wesley. “This is the work which I know God has called me to; and sure I am that His blessing attends it. Great encouragement have I, therefore, to be faithful in fulfilling the work He hath given me to do.”
Every day, the General Board of Church and Society and the UN put Wesley’s words into action. United Methodists observe United Nations Day on October 24, the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force.Through our church’s support of the United Nations, we, too, look upon all the world as our parish.