It was a beautiful day spent at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem on April 19. I was there for the annual NC Council of Churches Critical Issues Seminar; this year’s theme was, Eating Well for Ourselves, For Our Neighbors, For Our Planet. The Right Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, offered an inspiring homily to start the morning. Teaching from the Gospel of John, he challenged Christians to be made crazy by the love of Christ, as Mary Magdalene was when she approached Jesus’ tomb. Bishop Curry laid out how John’s account of Jesus pointed to the convergence of the harsh dark that embodies despair, disappointment, and hardships. But this darkness was broken by Jesus’ victory over every evil and vile thing that lives in darkness—when He was raised from the dead in the ‘early morning while it was still dark.’ Bishop Curry honored faithful Mary Magdalene, who was always ‘present and accounted for’ when the other disciples weren’t. Bishop Curry reminded all of us that the power that raised Jesus from the dead was the same power that compelled Mary Magdalene to be so faithful to Jesus and is the same power that lives within us.
This power can move us to do seemingly insane things, such as being counter cultural with our living and eating habits. Who would go so far as to spend hours on the phone, going back and forth with caterers trying to get organic, local foods that are in line with our beliefs, as Rose Gurkin of the Council staff did for the delicious lunch that was served? Who would be crazy enough to tell her patients that “…soon we won’t have an earth to support healthy choices if we don’t start saving our planet now” as Dr. Kathy Shea did once long ago and succeeded in changing a patient’s health within one year? Who would be crazy enough to lead congregations to health through a biblical message as Willona Stallings is doing with Partners in Health and Wholeness? And who would be crazy enough to lead a group of dedicated staff to work toward a just, loving, equitable society as George Reed is doing as the Executive Director of the NC Council of Churches? Bishop Curry’s message was that we need crazy Christians.
For some, Bishop’s Curry’s message is a start. For others, it’s an encouraging word. And still for others, it’s an awakening that they have companions on the same path. Partners in Health and Wholeness is tracking those who allow Jesus’ love to drive them to crazy acts of counter cultural decisions. Take a look out our PHW-certified churches to get an idea of Christians who are being counter cultural with their health outlook.
I challenge you not only to take a crazy approach with eating, but also loving as Jesus loved. Reading your Bible, praying, meditating, communing with God, there is nothing sweeter than that comfort, and nothing more life changing than those encounters with God.
Be blessed my dear sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers in Christ, and become biblically crazy!
–Joy Williams, PHW Regional Consultant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the NC Council of Churches. Please visit our website to view more resources on health and faith .