On the Day of Pentecost, I lamented the breathless of the oppressed, crying out “Do our people breathe fully?” and called for our action that the Holy Spirit truly empowers us to do: our empathy, our courage, our humility, our solidarity, and our generosity (listen to the sermon here).
This Sunday, I spoke out in my sermon reflecting on what it means to bear the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE in our personal and societal lives. This was the first Sunday in the series: Fruit of the Spirit,
In this country, what we really need is Christ-like love, a love that is, not “me-centered” but “putting others ahead.” Christ-like love is barrier-dissolving. This love is a love that is to treat others as God’s beloved, made in God’s image.
What we need in our works to heal the brokenness of this country is, truly, our Christ-like love. If we say we want to love like Christ, one thing that we shouldn’t do is allowing our system and culture to let people have to be afraid to be targeted not because of what they did, but because of what they look like.
… … Looking to what’s happening in our country and hearing the cries of people, to be honest, I had mixed feelings: from fear to anger, from frustration to guilty, from powerlessness to disappointment at myself.
However, I decided again not to be afraid to love. I decide again not to resist the Holy Spirit when she nudges me and leads me to love in a way that is counter-cultural.
As Jesus has loved us, let’s not fear to love. Let’s not hesitate to accept those who are different from us.
Feeling the pains of all those fearful, I also made clear in my pastoral prayer and words of invitation to worship that I stand with them. It’s not God’s will to let the marginalized live in fear because of the color of skin, the faith they have, or the language they speak. No matter what this society labels them with, no matter what others say they are, the most important truth about each person is that they are a beloved child of God.
Thus, standing against racism, I invite you all to reaffirm our baptismal vows to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
Standing for peace, justice, and love for all, let’s reaffirm our commitment to taking courage to speak for the voiceless and building a community where each one’s God-given gift of life is fully honored and celebrated.
Bishop Jung of the Wisconsin Conference of The UMC, “Time for Revolutionary Change”
United Methodist Council of Bishops statement on the Scourge of Racism
Erin Hawkins, General Secretary of the UM General Commission on Religion & Race, “Moving Toward the Pain”