Prayer 7:13 Prayer 713
North Highland United Methodist Church
Friday, January 19, 2018
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

October 2015

Rev. Dawn Chesser of UMC Discipleship Ministries says the following so well:
It is very difficult to deal with difference. We human beings are much more comfortable with sameness and conformity than we are with difference and non-conformity, whether the difference is because of skin color or religious persuasion or mental capacity or physical handicap or something else.
 
Jesus calls us not just to look at those who are different from us, but to see them and welcome them and love them. He calls us to practice tolerance in every aspect of our lives—not just in issues of ability or disability, but in issues of race and gender and culture and politics and yes, even religion.”
 
“For in Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith. As many of us as were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of us are one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28 (Words of Paul, interpreting the message of Jesus for the church in Galatia.)
When we celebrate World Communion this Sunday, we imagine Christians around the world as being one family. We sing about being “one” or about being a “family of God”. Yet in looking even at our own family dynamics, it isn’t always easy being family, is it? Whether birth, blended or extended we don’t automatically think alike, we may be scattered, we have varying beliefs, and we may disagree. But we are still known as family.
 
Once again in recent weeks harsh words have been shouted in the name of Christianity often by those claiming to know the ultimate truth. People have been hurt, and the church overall suffers damage when we are represented as a dysfunctional family “airing dirty laundry in public”. Do you imagine Jesus grieving over these fractures, or wincing when hard-hitting verbal weapons are deployed? I certainly imagine so.
 
Do any of us fully know the mind of God? As much as we struggle to understand how best to follow Jesus, we also need to remember that no particular group of Christians owns Jesus any more than another group, or church or belief system. God was here long before anyone of us were born—before the disciples were born—before Martin Luther or John Wesley or the Pope was born. And after all didn’t God create all of us in and with God’s own image?
How might we be an extension of the God of love and mercy who breathed life into all creation—and then pronounced it good? May North Highland continue to be a church where all are truly welcome, and are encouraged to discover through conversation, reading and prayer who we are together called to be as we live together as God’s kingdom people.
 
Pastor Lou