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Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
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Pastor’s Message: Nov. 9, 2020

Well, friends, another election has come. As of this writing, it remains and will, hopefully, be resolved by the time you read this. The incoming results are creating a variety of thoughts and feelings for people in the United States of America. The last several years of our political lives have been beyond contentious. We often blame it on social media, but, truth be told, this contentious nature began to take shape in, at least, the 1990’s. This was the period when rhetoric and spin often limited to commercials during election season began to spill into everyday life on new radio and TV media networks.

I think we all realize that many campaign ads are disingenuous in many ways, seeking not to inform but to state and spin things in a way that makes us afraid of or angry toward those we disagree with or consider our opponents. The rise of new media in the 1990s with a stress on infotainment and opinion for ratings purposes meant the messages seeking to create fear and anger were entering our lives on a daily basis and not only in election season. This helped fuel a tension in which minor disagreements and issues were suddenly being treated with the same fervor as significant differences and outright scandals as the sides of our political debate have been told for years that those who do not view life the way you do are not to be trusted. They are evil. Those investing in this new media and the political groups they aligned with have sought to create this divisive narrative for decades and the rise of social media was like the flame of a forest fire that burns up through the trunk of a tree. The flame reaches the top of a tree still standing and the embers begin to float off into the distance causing an even more disastrous spread of the flame.

The problem this creates for us today is that many do not just disagree with their neighbors. They hate them. The political discourse of the past few decades has spewed rhetoric that has caused us to lose sight of the value we find in our neighbors. We lose sight that all persons bear the image of God and that image is best displayed in communal oneness. It is a oneness remembering that we all breathe from the breath of God. That God, in Jesus, seeks the salvation of us all. We also know, despite our own personal and communal sin, God’s love has never ceased. What does this mean regarding how we respond to our neighbor?

Do not get me wrong. We are still called to hunger and thirst for the justice and righteousness associated with the Kindom of God, God’s realm of oneness. Our baptismal vows call us to “accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, justice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” So this does not mean we never have prophetic, sometimes even harsh words, for ourselves and others. But how we go about fulfilling this call is shaped not by the political rhetoricians on TV, the radio, and the internet. It is shaped by Jesus whose love never quits. Who remains in covenant with us no matter how many times our love fails and we rebel against God’s way of life. It is the love that led Jesus to cry out from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

So remember, today, how much God loves you. Then, in response, remember how much God loves your neighbor. Seek to extend that love to your neighbor. Love them despite your disagreements, knowing the image of God is stamped on their person and is more visible when we see it in each other as we seek oneness. Bless those who revile you. Heap burning coals of kindness on the heads who have done evil to you or to others. Because the seed of the love of Christ can, and will, spread faster than the flames of political rhetoric of hate and fear. The seeds of new creation will outpace the flame of destruction.

Grace and peace,

Rev. J.D. Allen
Senior Pastor

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I wish above all things that you may know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you.