Dear Partners in the Gospel,
These have been horribly difficult days. The continuing onslaught of domestic shootings, terror incidents, hateful gatherings, divided communities have fractured the spirit of community. Too many closed-minds, stiff-necks, and immovable egos make any sort of peace impossible. In the country that boasts of freedoms and blessings, our society is as unsteady as a house of cards.
I can tell the weight of the news has had an effect on our gatherings, and even our conversations. I can feel the frustration with continuing grief, and the difficulty of peaceful conversation about matters that can become “political” so quickly. I miss our times of conversations spiced with laughter and the willingness to be open to new or different ideas.
My guess is as Jesus and his disciples continued toward Jerusalem, stopping each night along the road, that around the campfire words of worry were woven with words of mercy and hope. Three times Jesus would tell the disciples he would be arrested, tried and killed. Times were getting darker for the followers of Jesus.
But, along the way Jesus introduced the twelve and the multitudes who would follow that God’s ways are life-giving and mercy-filled. Luke’s Gospel has those parables and words of Jesus offering a broad welcome, and the broad brush of God’s love and mercy for all people…no matter the color of their skin, the nationality of their birth, their means of worshipping God (even God under another name)….and that welcome would be peaceful.
It is into that ultimate reality that I continue to seek to lead you and this congregation toward the place where we will celebrate diversity, welcome unconditionally, and embrace the children of God from every tribe, nation, or faith. Some may call that foolishness. I call it faithfulness in the grace and mercy of God.