Readings for John Raleigh Mott (January 31, 1955)
“This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.” (Luke 7:17)
This verse from Luke expresses what John Raleigh Mott was all about, that is spreading the word about Jesus. Interesting that the writer of Luke moves from Nain to “all Judea and surrounding country” when Nain is in Galilee to the north. In any case, John Raleigh Mott’s day is tomorrow, the 3rd of October but I am going to preach on him today so here you go. John Mott, a lay person did not let the lack of ordination prevent him from spreading the word about the Gospel.
“John Mott was born in Livingston Manor, New York, on May 25, 1865, and moved with family to Iowa in September of that same year. After graduating from Cornell University in 1888, Mott became student secretary of the International Committee of the YMCA and chairman of the executive committee of the Student Volunteer Movement.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for 3 October)
I just attended a Lutheran Brass Praise gathering yesterday. It was wonderful. The musicians were from Germany and absolutely loving people. I mingle with Baptist, Presbyterians, Methodist, Roman Catholics and my own Episcopalians on almost a daily basis. I am reminded that while we have all these different paths to heaven, there is only one Jesus. Mott dedicated his life to the propagation of ecumenical evangelization.
“ His [Mott’s] ecumenical work was rooted in the missionary slogan “The Evangelization of the World in this Generation.” Convinced of the need for better cooperation among Christian communions in the global mission field, he served as chairman of the committee that organized the International Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, over which he also presided. Considered to be the broadest gathering of Christians up to that point, the Conference marked the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement. Speaking before that Conference, Mott summed up his view of Christian missions: “It is a startling and solemnizing fact that even as late as the twentieth century, the Great Command of Jesus Christ to carry the Gospel to all mankind is still so largely unfulfilled . . . The church is confronted today, as in no preceding generation, with a literally worldwide opportunity to make Christ known.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for 3 October)
One does not have to be clergy to be honored in Christian community. In fact, I think a lay person who participates in the secular world but still follows his or her passion for spreading the Gospel should be given extra recognition. “The World Council of Churches, the founding of which was largely driven by Mott’s efforts, elected him its life-long Honorary President in 1948. Although Mott was a Methodist, the Episcopal Church recognized his work by making him an honorary canon of the National Cathedral. Mott died in 1955.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for 3 October)
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+