On July 21, Minister Ryan Collins preached on Ubuntu (oo-boon-too) and on July 28, my sermon discussed Shalom. Ubuntu recognizes the inter-connectedness of humanity, the meaning translating as “I am because we are” – no one is an island, we might say; we’re all in this together. Shalom is God’s desire that we live in right relationship with one another and with creation, so that each experiences completeness and wholeness. And our Disciples tagline is “We are a Movement for Wholeness in a Fragmented World. As Part of the One Body of Christ, We Welcome All to the Lord’s Table, as God has Welcomed Us.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about how fragmented our world is right now, and how fragmented the body of Christ seems to be too, at least in our country. We Disciples have a long history of not agreeing with one another on everything, while at the same time holding on to the fact that we are united in Christ, even with those differences. This congregation in particular seems to have done a pretty good job of that over the course of its history, with some seasons being better than others. Many of the things that we, as followers of Jesus, care about relate to caring for “the least of these.” And by their very nature, these concerns overlap with the political realm.
“Being political” in and of itself is not a bad thing. The root of politics is polis – the city, or community; and things that involve those residing in the community ARE political. Likewise, government is not a dirty word. In the most ideal sense, government in the US is meant to be by the people and for the people; it is our attempt to work together for the common good of those residing in our country. We certainly have not always done that as well as we could… Over the years, persons (of all political parties) who have been elected to represent us and work for our common good have let us down and used their offices and power to benefit themselves and their friends. Over the years, persons (of all political parties) have also actually done what they were elected to do and have worked to pass laws that benefited the people. (The Americans with Disabilities Act is just one example, which was signed into law during President Reagan’s administration.)
Therefore, I encourage you, no matter which “side of the aisle” you are on, to choose your words carefully. Be careful to not paint with too wide a brush; EVERYONE who sees an issue differently than you is STILL a beloved child of God. Challenge yourself to disagree on issues and policies without stooping to name-calling and insults towards the individual with whom you are disagreeing. We are all in this together. And we, as followers of Jesus, are called to bring Wholeness to our community, not exacerbate the Fragmentation.
Posted on Mon, August 5, 2019
by Pamela Pettyjohn