Know God, Love God, Serve God: a final reflection



Light for the Way devotional series

We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Pastor Chris Wheatley, PHS Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services

“[Caiaphas said,] ‘It is better that one man should die for the people than the whole nation perish.’ But he did not say this on his own. As the high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not only for that nation but for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” —John 11:50b-52, NIV

Over the past eight months, we have been exploring the Baltimore Catechism’s answer to the question of human purpose, that we should “know God, love God, and serve God.” We have talked about different ways of doing each of these, and their connection to the major church holidays, from knowing God through the perfect incarnation of Jesus at Christmas to being called to serve God through the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

And now, as we just recently celebrated a thoroughly national holiday, let us take a moment to note that not only does this mark the first time that Presbyterian Homes & Services has had a pastoral care theme taken from the largest Christian denomination in the world, but it is also one intended specifically for the USA.

If you aren’t Catholic yourself, that might seem strange. Most denominations have statements of faith that are rooted in scripture, but with the assumption that this statement is equally true for people from all regions or nations of the earth. Roman Catholics have a long history of writing catechisms for different countries, tailoring the message of Jesus for the specific experiences of each nation.

The text written for Germany at the same time as the Baltimore Catechism, for instance, begins with many, many pages of history before it says a single word about human purpose. It assumes that Germans will want to know how these teachings have been heard by past generations.

When writing to America, things are different. We are a nation united not by a common bloodline or a common history, but by a common vision. We are people from many nations and backgrounds, brought together by a shared view of what is possible, a call to action to make our imperfect world match its highest ideals. And at PHS, we celebrate today that this includes the way that we, in serving older adults, can know, love, and serve the God Most High.

Pastor Chris WheatleyRev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series



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