A Message from Your Pastor
January 8, 2021
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who
can be against us? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither
angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able
to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
--Romans 8:31, 37-39 (NIV)
Again and again, during forty years of pastoral ministry, I have turned to Holy Scripture in general, and Romans 8 in particular, for inspiration and answers to questions for which the answers do not easily come. During situations where there is no rhyme nor reason, when extremists take over the social and political stage—Jesus Christ must be the answer!
We have all witnessed first-hand, the incursion, insurrection and devastation—both physical and emotional—at our United States Capitol building. At least five people lost their lives, and many more were injured. We all heard the rhetoric, instigation to violence, and the too slow reactions of those in power who should have known better and acted much sooner.
Over the past few months, we have seen our greatest and most beautiful American cities overrun, ransacked and occupied at the hands of mobs and other groups whose goal was not equality and justice, but looting and destruction. What might have started out as legitimate, Constitution-guaranteed peaceful protest quickly escalated into rioting, the burning of family-owned neighborhood businesses, and the irreparable loss of life and livelihood by those who thought they could get away with it all—and get something for themselves at the expense of someone else!
These two examples are both tragedies—they are both deplorable—they are both inexcusable—they both eat like acid at the very foundations of law and order, of decency and justice! As citizens of these great United States—as people of faith, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim or any other religion—we can do better, we must be better!
I call on all of our Boiling Springs United Methodist Church family and friends to step back, and to cool down! Whether or not you are happy with the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election or not—it is over and done. We must move on—together. If you support the President-elect, fine. If you do not, the remedy is in the ballot box in two years, as we again elect or re-elect a third of our United States Senate and again elect or re-elect all members of our U.S. House of Representatives—or in four years the election or re-election of a President.
That is how it is done! The time is now, for us to come together and be Americans first, and be Republicans or Democrats, and liberals or conservatives second. We should be and do nothing else!
We are blessed to be living in the greatest nation the world has ever seen. In order to keep it great, we must be a country of laws, not rhetoric—of peaceful demonstrations and not violence. In the words of Jesus Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God!” –Matthew 5:9.
We need to be in a constant state of prayer: Prayers for our United States, for our beautiful State of South Carolina, for our Boiling Springs United Methodist Church, and for our United Methodist denomination. Prayers that racial injustice will come to an end by what we do to combat it each and every day—not by complacency and letting others do the work we should be accomplishing. Prayers for our law enforcement personnel and our other first responders, and to give love, respect and support each day to those who are on the front lines to ensure our safety and well-being. Prayers for our teachers and educators during this COVID-19 pandemic, that the necessity of virtual learning may be temporary, and that our children may be able to return to their classrooms soon. Prayers for a maximum effort to inoculate as many persons as possible, so this pandemic may be relegated to history soon. And perhaps most important of all: prayers for our families—both large and small—that love of God and our love for each other may be manifested in our conduct and in our commitment to one another.
May each of you and all of you be blessed this and every day, and may the Holy Spirit both guard you and guide you in all you say and do…