There was a pastor who wrote about receiving a survey in the mail from the local electric company, reflecting the wide-spread concern about the Y2K computer problems.
Among the questions on the survey, it was the last question that stumped him: “Will your essential functions be affected?”
The pastor, after some consideration, wondered just what were the essential functions of the parish. He reflected that the church is primarily a community of charity and prayer, therefore, the parish could continue its essential functions quite well. He wrote, “We should be able to celebrate the sacraments, do works of charity, study the Scriptures and teach the faith, even if the computers shut down.”
With further reflection the pastor mused, “We might not be able to fill in all those forms that come to us from the diocese and the government, which would be God’s form of justice. We might not be able to schedule so many events, which would give us all a needed Sabbath rest.”
That power company survey made the pastor then wonder about the “Day of Judgment” readiness of the parish community. “What if we sent out a similar survey,” he contemplated, “to determine if the people in the parish are ‘Second Coming’ compliant? What essential functions would we want them to consider?”
So the pastor started to write down some point to ponder:
- Have you fed the hungry lately?
- Have you given drink to the thirsty?
- Are strangers welcomed in your community?
- What provisions have you made for clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless?
- Are your programs for visiting the sick and the imprisoned working well?
- Do you worship God in spirit and truth?
- Have you been building up each other with words of encouragement?
- Have you been reconciling enemies, making peace and comforting those who mourn?
- What have you done to reduce the violence in your community?
- What about reducing the violent rages within your own heart?
- In what ways have you hungered and thirsted for justice, and not sought vengeance?
- Have you preached the Good News lately—by your words or your deeds?
- Have you told people of God’s abundant love for them?
- Are your treasures stored up in heaven, or in a safety deposit box?
The pastor noted, “Most of us would have a harder time filling out the second survey than the first.” He continued, “I’d also be willing to bet that it would be a lot more important to get compliant with the second readiness survey.”
The pastor concluded, “One way or another, we will muddle through computer glitches. But if we don’t get compliant with the concerns of the Lord’s survey of readiness, we might not get through the ‘Day of Judgment’ unscathed. Now that’s a survey to take seriously.”