Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation – 1 Peter 2:11-13
The past few months have been brutal:
A deadly virus, isolation, murders of innocent people of color, murders of innocent police, destruction, burning, anarchy, righteous anger, unrighteous anger, despair, sadness, stress, hurt feelings, fracturing of relationships, accusations, politicization and polarization, etc., etc.
In a recent discussion, the Anglican pastors in our diocese reported that although they are trying their best to represent Christ well, they are getting hammered from all sides. I have had friends tell me they are no longer speaking to their own family members.
I too have received emails, messages, and FB posts from those on the far left and those on the far right telling me what I have not done right and what the church has not done right. Rather than be defensive, which is the easy road to travel, I can confess to Christ and to you that both the church and I have, at times, failed to represent Christ well and not loved our neighbor. My friend Don Anderson has taught me and keeps teaching me that it is only because of our security in Christ and inside of His love and mercy that we can have the confidence to pray:
Search me, God,
and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23
By the grace of God, we all can do better in the way we love others and the way we represent the Lord. I have tried to listen to each comment to see if there is anything that the Lord may be saying to me or the church. I also have spent and will spend more time in the Word of God trying to listen for His voice. His voice is the voice we must listen to! His Word is truth!
In our world too many are stumbling around in darkness and evidencing the fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:19). The only way to stop stumbling around in darkness is to walk in the light. God says His Word is a lamp and a light to our path. As we read, underline, learn, and inwardly digest God’s Word, His thoughts become our thoughts and His kingdom ways become our ways. In Luke 1:68-79 we learn that Christ came to bring salvation, holiness, forgiveness, tender mercy and light to those in darkness. Thank the Lord for that truth!
Our church does not and will not identify with a political party or movement. Our goal is to live as sojourners and exiles on earth as Jesus’ ambassadors, bringing the Kingdom of God; we seek to make disciples, do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.
Lord where we are blind, give us your sight
Lord where we are in darkness, show forth the Light of Christ
Lord where we are despairing, bring us your hope
Lord where we are indifferent, bring repentance
Lord where we are under condemnation, bring freedom
Lord where we are at odds with a brother, let us wash their feet.