An Open Letter to the Community of Kingswood United Methodist Church; November 5, 2016
5 November 2016
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Divided. Polarized. Uncivil. Distrustful. Bi-partisan. Angry. Frustrated.
All I have to do is read the news on my computer screen and these are the words that come to mind describing the social and political climate in the United States as November 8, 2016 approaches, and with it, the presidential elections and elections of other leaders. Every so often my phone rings with yet another politician wanting to tell me why he or she is the best thing to happen to me since the invention of indoor plumbing.
Tomorrow, Sunday, November 6, 2016, the community of Kingswood United Methodist Church, as well as many other churches in our connection and communion, will celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.
The Sacrament of the Holy Communion was established by Jesus himself (Luke 22:14-20, Matthew 26:26-29, and Mark 14:22-25; see also 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The contemporary liturgy of the service reminds us that we strive to be “one with Christ [and] one with each other” (A Service of Word and Table II, UMH 14).
Celebrating the Sacrament of the Holy Communion reminds us who we are and whose we are. The Sacrament of the Holy Communion asserts that Jesus did not call us to be a Republican or a Democrat. We are not called to make Republicans any more than we are called to make Democrats; we are called to be united in the love of God and to make disciples and followers for Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20) for the transformation of the world. The Sacrament of the Holy Communion is Jesus’ answer to the divisiveness, polarization, incivility, distrustfulness, and bi-partisanship that our country has been thrown into during this election cycle.
Celebrating the Sacrament of the Holy Communion asserts that our beloved country may be divided by a painful, divisive and abusive campaign, but as followers of Jesus we are a community that strives to come together, join our hearts in worship, and our souls in joint mission. We remember that Jesus did not die on the cross to redeem Republicans or Democrats any more than people of different races or ethnicities, for “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
As one of the most controversial and bitterly divisive presidential campaigns in our shared memory comes to a close, it is time to start looking forward. It is time to put our differences aside and come together for mutual spiritual support and prayer for the future of our nation. Regardless of who is elected as our President and for other leadership offices, we will continue to offer prayers for the offices of the President and Vice-President of the United States of America, other world leaders and our local elected officials.
We need to do this because Mrs. Clinton will not come to our community and teach lessons in ethics to our young, and Mr. Trump will not join our community and teach our young how to respect each other. These tasks will fall on our shoulders. The winner of the election will move into the White House with all due pomp and circumstance, and the loser will take their jet to their luxurious house somewhere. Long after the election is over, both candidates will still be wealthy. Both presidential candidates are so far removed from our economic circumstances, that they have no idea of what we have to do in order to make ends meet. We, on the other hand, have to live and coexist in our local communities. We knew each other long before the election cycle started and we will have to find a way to live together after this election cycle is over.
My hope and prayer is that we find a way to respectfully and thoughtfully put our differences aside and come back together as a community of sisters and brothers who put their trust not in politicians but in the Love and Grace of Jesus. To paraphrase Pauls’ sentiment in Galatians 3:28, my hope and prayer for the community of our church, Kingswood United Methodist Church, is that we will continue to be the church where “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, [NEITHER BLUE NOR RED,] nor is there male and female, …” for we are ALL God’s children serving God by serving the world in which we live.
Soli Deo Gloria – To God be the Glory!