I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged! Since my last post, Corey and I have moved, I started a new pastoral appointment, Corey has started a new job, we are deep into this whole parenting an infant thing, and we’ve been doing a crazy balancing act ever since! Please forgive me! I did want to break my silence and share a letter that I will read to my congregation on Sunday morning in the post-election madness that our nation is feeling and experiencing. I hope you will find it helpful and hopeful. Peace to you and yours.
Dear Friends of Asbury UMC,
As your pastor, I feel the need to address the divisions and uneasiness many feel as a result of the election this past week. Regardless of your political views, there is no getting around the fact that this election has caused deep division and fear for many in our country. Regardless of your political views, there is no getting around the fact that people of different colors, religions, sexual orientations, and genders are being taunted, bullied, and threatened, and feel unwelcome in their own country. I have friends with black children who have been targets of racial threats. I have seen stories of Muslim college students fearing for their lives. I saw an article about a school where someone posted “whites only” and “colored only” signs above water fountains. I have seen photos of graffiti in Bloomington, IN glorifying racism and white supremacy in the name of our president elect, complete with swastikas and KKK images. In Columbus, Indiana, a Hispanic pastor’s children were told by other students to “go back home, and go build that wall.” Because of the election result, some feel that they have been given a platform in which to treat others as “less than.” Regardless of who your vote went to, I hope we can all agree that this is unacceptable, and it is not okay. We can’t deny the fact that our culture has seen a shift over the past few months, and has worsened over the last week. Therefore, we as Christians must speak out against bullying, injustice, racism, sexism, and xenophobia in all its forms.
This is not about politics. This is about treating human beings with dignity and respect. We, as followers of Christ, who loved and welcomed all, should not stand by and be silent. We as United Methodist state in our Social Creed that:
We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of all persons.
We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.
We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.
We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.
As Christians, we are a people of hope and peace. So as we move forward together, may we spread hope and peace, that we might be the healing hands of Jesus in the midst of this uncertain time in which we find ourselves. Let us pray: (prayer by Rev. Jessica Stenstrom and the UM Book of Worship #442)
Come and fill our hearts with your peace
You alone O God are holy
Come and fill our hearts with your peace
If you celebrate this morning, I pray with you and for you
If you mourn this morning, I pray with you and for you
If you’re excited for the changes that’s coming, I pray with you and for you
If you’re filled with anxiety and fear over potential changes, I pray with you and for you
If you have felt harmed by the political rhetoric, by divisions among friends and family – I pray with you and for you hoping today begins healing.
Whether you are thrilled or devastated – the good news is this God is still God. Neither candidate would be the solution to all the problems, pain and division of our world. God is the only solution.
My prayer for us this morning is that we would be the people of God living out life in the ways Jesus modeled by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and poor, offering hope to the broken-hearted.
Through our faith in God, we know that love has the power to overcome hate and division – light shines through pain and darkness. Let us choose love and choose light.
Almighty God, you rule all the peoples of the earth.
Inspire the minds of all women and men to whom you have committed the responsibility of government and leadership in the nations of the world.
Give to them the vision of truth and justice, that by their counsel all nations and peoples may work together.
Give to the people of our country zeal for justice and strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will.
Forgive our shortcomings as a nation; purify our hearts to see and love the truth.
We pray all these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.