A couple of weeks ago, Sabra and I were stricken with the COVID bug … no fun! However, I must admit that this downtime (euphemism alert) proved to be an opportunity to unplug a bit. In fact, during my time off the grid I was able to revisit one of my favorite readings by Elaine Heath—The Healing Practice Of Celebration. As it turned out, the uncluttered forced holiday gave me time to read it slowly; to meditate on some of her insights; and to sit and marinate in some of her shared wisdom. One of the things she reminds us of is found in the following excerpt.
It is not just possible but utterly necessary in our day to form genuinely loving and respectful relationships with those with whom we disagree. If we do not learn to do this well, we will have no authority with which to speak to our neighbors about God. All our God talk will do is further the fragmentation of our culture. We cannot with integrity celebrate the love of God who is making all things new while we posture, label, judge, reject, vilify, and harm other Christian’s. Much less can we justify hateful words and deeds against people of other religions or no religion, as if we were doing God a favor.
In his recent letter to the North Carolina annual conference, Bishop Fairley reminded everyone that, “celebrating the love of God, which permeates our broken world, is a unique aspect of our life together in the Body of Christ. This is something we are called not only to name aloud, but to embody.”
Think of all the people who have been water-washed and Spirit-born in our congregation. Imagine the many others who will come to know Christ because of your lived witness—embodying His love, mercy, and grace. Reflect and see all the saints of God who have gone on to be with the Lord, who blessed our lives as United Methodist people. Think of the table fellowship you have shared together, and the gift of God’s grace poured out so beautifully at the Lord’s Table. Think on these things and give thanks.
In fact, God’s words to Abraham in Genesis 22:17-18 seem fitting here. I’ll bless you; oh, how I’ll bless you! And I’ll make sure that your children flourish; like stars in the sky; like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me. Genesis 22:17-18 (MSG)
Friends, what a blessing! In fact, we are blessed so that we can be a blessing.
Blessings & Peace!