Peace with Justice
In the UMC we have a commitment to justice and peace in the name of the Christ, our Savior. There are many interpretations of scripture to name that which we believe to be just and peaceful; the various ways we come to “read” the messages of the bible we love has indeed both pulled us into unity together and also caused discord. Some of that unity shows itself in moments of worship, prayer, acts of mercy and kindness where feeding the hungry and comforting the lonely is a call from God to enact our faith. Discord comes when we disagree about how to interpret the scripture and the UMC in the USA has a history of lacking to recognize where God calls God’s people to be present, to act, and to lead in the way of peace with justice.
We are experienced that discord when we failed to honor free men who as former slaves, were not welcomed to the Methodist circles to preach by vote at an Annual Conference, formally, and left to form the AME church. We failed when we refused for years and years to honor the call for women to preach the message of the gospel. We wonder why women are not in pulpits in every expression of Christian congregational gathering, why some congregations don’t think LGQTQ persons should be ordained to the ministry as they are called by God, and what equality means in real, everyday life for persons of all ethnicities and races in our country and around the globe. We wonder what a culture or white privilege means and what it means to upend it?
However, in a world that moves quickly through video captured on the street, Facebook live performances of arts and protests, (and worship services), the huge number of messaging apps on phones and tablets, opinions are formed quickly out of context; knee-jerk responses can be both uniting and divided the people of God; sometimes for the divine purposes of God, other times less than divine purpose. The world is a noisy place and to hear God speaking, we need to turn down the volume on the media from time to time.
It is why I am so very grateful for the local church where we live in a community together and experience the questions of the day, together. We read scripture, together. We share the moments in life where, as the Apostle Paul said, “sighs are too great for words” and lean on the comfort of the Holy Spirit, together (Rom 8:26). We honor the way each other enacts scripture and faith and compassion, together. We grow, spiritually, together because we experience life, together and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we get closer the Lord, together.
I invite you to the joy and delight, the comfort and hope, that we are a justice seeking people in the name of Jesus Christ. We will be looking at our Social Principals, moments of UMC history, lessons learned in our General Boards, and through the United Methodist Women, for Peace with Justice moments in our worship time, together. If you would like to participate in writing these moments, or lifting them up by speaking them on video and in worship, please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been quite a time of questioning, sorrow, witnessing, and hope of recent months; our faith has not failed us. God’s faith in us has never failed, praise be to God! I praise the Lord for each one of you as the summer ripens our harvest of hope and justice in the name of Jesus, the giver of all grace and peace.
With grace and blessings,
Rev. Dr. Robin Blair