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Pastor’s Message (Page 2)

Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [...]

Compassion

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. [...]

Hospitality

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” [...]

Gratitude

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Creator through him. [...]

Silence is Complicity

This is a sad, sad day. As I write this, the dust is beginning to settle in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Roof has been apprehended, and the full impact of his racist act of domestic terror is only now beginning to reverberate through the lives of those affected by the losses. There are a great many lessons we, as a culture, could learn from this tragedy. There are a great many issues it raises, and a great many opportunities here for substantive and honest national conversations about things of ultimate meaning. But, will we finally engage in any of these conversations? Perhaps one of the things that makes this even more of a tragedy is that, by the time this issue of the Spire is published, those conversations may well be swept away in the flood of other stories. We won’t likely focus on this long enough to draw anything significant from its passing. [...]

The Wider Church

When we think about the things that make the United Church of Christ both special and formidable in the context of American Protestantism (because I know how much time you spend thinking about this), what may come most readily to mind is a sense of our denominational hospitality, our openness to varieties of faith, and life, experiences. Perhaps we think about the welcome offered to individuals less readily integrated into other faith traditions. What some church communities would think of censoriously as “lowering the bar,” we think of confidently as “widening the welcome.” We can, and do, work to make as many diverse kinds of folk at home here as we are able, and that is surely something to celebrate. [...]