West Union United Methodist Church
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Luke 10:27

Pastor's Corner

 

 

  Consider This… From Chris
 

These days and in so many ways the questions are being asked: “Who is it acceptable to exclude?” “Who can we justify not caring about?” And perhaps scariest of all, “How little can I do for others and still feel good about myself?”  Okay, to be more precise, these questions are not being directly asked, but they are implied in the way we are acting, as the United Methodist Church, as Democrats or Republicans, as a country.

 

In the United Methodist Church we have a specially called General Conference meeting from February 23 -26, with the purpose, under all the many proposals, of deciding if we really mean that “all persons are of sacred worth.” (UMC Book of Discipline, paragraph 4.) The presenting issue, in this case, is human sexuality.  In the past it has been about who may be excluded from full participation, {using the gifts which the Spirit of God has given}, based on gender, or race, or slavery.  Perhaps we will come closer this time to an understanding of sacred worth.  I recognized that it’s complicated and not simple. I understand the different points of view, both Biblical and cultural.  I think it still comes down to “Who is it acceptable to exclude?”

 

We are, at the same time, dealing with the effects of a partial government shutdown, which initially affected 800,000 government workers, about twice that many contract workers, and is now swiftly distressing the rest of our society, and especially the most vulnerable. There’s a high probability that SNAP benefits will be delayed the end of February, making food-insecure families struggle even more.  There are a host of other issues that are affecting travel, security, scientific research, parks and recreation and more, from sea to shining sea.  The question seems to be, “Who can we justify not caring about?” so that one side or another can get their way, not for the good of the people but for political gain.

 

This is the cultural environment that we live in.  The question I want us to consider, though, is what do we do as a church in the midst of crises and issues and divisiveness?  I hope and pray that we can remember that our task, without qualification, restriction or limitation, is to do the work of Jesus Christ right where we are. Borrowing from Howard Thurman’s poem (who borrowed from Jesus who borrowed from Isaiah), it is this:

 

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers (and sisters),
To make music in the heart.

 

 

May we, in all the ways we are enabled by God, continue to carry out this work.

 

                                                            Shalom,

                                                                  Chris