We have asked all the nominees for moderator four questions so that we, as a church, could get to know them a little better. Here are the responses for Rev. John Lawson. If you would like to know more about John, please read his profile from the General Council 41 website.
1) “Cruxifusion” means “united by the cross.” What does Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection mean to you?
Both these events – Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection – are absolutely central to my faith. Here we discover who God is. Here is a deep mystery that defies an easy or single explanation. But in the briefest of terms:
1. How far does God’s love go for us and the world? All the way to the cross. . . the most terrible that humans do to each other. Hatred and death healed by Love Incarnate.
2. Does pain and suffering and death have the last word? No, God and Life and Love have the last word!
Thanks be to God!
2) Describe the God you worship.
I was raised in the Presbyterian Church and dutifully learned the Shorter Catechism. I have forgotten all but the first question/answer. “What is man’s chief end?” “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The exclusive language aside, I still like that. Especially important and subversive for me was the little word “enjoy”. Joy has to be at the heart of worship and delight in all God’s creation! God who so loves this world!
3) Which Christian author has had the greatest impact on you?
That’s an impossible question. There have been so many voices that have been part of this wonderful conversation that has shaped my faith. After all, we have four Gospels not one. . . speaking of authors that have probably had the most impact on me. I feel very much guided by the Holy Spirit in finding the right author for the right time – but here is a list of some that have been very important to me: Johann Metz, Dorothee Soelle, Douglas Hall, Harvey Cox, N.T. Wright, Eugene Peterson, Walter Wink, Henri Nouwen, Wendell Berry – and that’s just the beginning, and I’ve used up my 100 words!
4) What gifts and passions do you have that you believe the United Church of Canada needs today?
I am at heart both a pastor and a preacher. I have a deep heart for the life and faith journeys of people who follow in the Way of Jesus – and in turn for the congregations in which they find themselves. Right now many congregations of our United Church of Canada are searching and are scared. This time, more than any other, is a time to ground ourselves again as disciples of Jesus and in the wonderful treasure of our faith – this treasure we carry in very earthen vessels. And, I might add, learning to share that treasure in respectful and loving ways.