As I began to compose my thoughts for the newsletter, I cannot help but think about milestones in our lives. On October 3, My father will celebrate his 90th birthday. Our family is having a surprise party for him on September 30th. I remember when my grandfather turned 90, he seemed so old to me. As the years have passed, 90 doesn’t look so old anymore. My father has overcome a lot of adversities in life and we are blessed by his physical presence. This birthday will be a milestone in my father’s life. It is always good for my father to see his entire family. Each one of us goes through certain milestones in our lives and we go through milestones in our church life as well. I am very grateful for all the different celebrations that we celebrate, such as: new school year, baptisms, confirmations, new members, Holy Communion, weddings and services of resurrection to name a few. These milestones mark who and what we are. God has created each of us as unique individuals and together we make up the body of Christ. Sometimes we go through times of separation in the church and in our country which are part of our history as well. The events of Charlottesville, VA remind of us how evil is still rampant in our country.
In a letter from Bishop Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, in a letter to the church, quotes Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged the United States to transform the thin paper of the Declaration of Independence that affirms the self-evident truth, “that all men are created equal, are endowed with certain inalienable rights” into thick action. Bishop Ough sets forth a challenge that says: “this is the moment for The United Methodist Church and all peoples of faith to be bold in our witness against racism and white supremacy. The vision of the Beloved Community lies not behind us, but before us. I urge us to pray for the Holy Spirit to break through and work through The United Methodist Church and to heal our broken world and make tangible, visible the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”
As I reflect and pray about these events, I would like to share the words from the hymn,
“For the Healing of the Nations” and ask that this may be our prayer for such a time as this that we are experiencing in our country. “For the healing of the nation(s), Lord, we pray with one accord; for a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords; to a life of love in action, help us rise and pledge our word. Lead us forward into freedom; from despair your world release, that, redeemed from war and hatred, all may come and go in peace. Show us how through care and goodness, fear will die and hope increase. All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned; pride of status, race, or schooling, dogmas that obscure your plan. In our common
quest for justice, may we hallow life’s brief span. You, Creator God, have written your great name on
humankind; for our growing in your likeness bring the life of Christ to mind, that by our response and service earth its destiny may find.” Amen.
May the grace, mercy, peace, and love of Lord, Jesus Christ be with you all!