A Plea for Peace
This week’s Nutshell comes to you well past our usual Friday deadline, not because of procrastination, but rather exasperation.
I had prepared what I thought would be a happy and uplifting message about new life to set the tone for your weekend, but it became apparent that I could not ignore what was happening in Minneapolis and other cities across our nation during the past 72 hours.
I really thought we were making progress in our efforts to rid ourselves of all bias and prejudice, and instead demonstrate love for and acceptance of all of God’s people, regardless of what they looked like or where they came from.
Unfortunately, our nation regressed significantly in recent days following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent looting, burning, and rioting in that city.
As a denomination that champions social justice, we have to live the “Greatest Commandment” as outlined in the Gospel of Mark through the words of Jesus himself when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…[and] Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Pretty simple to understand, but incredibly difficult to uphold. Let’s face it, our neighbor often annoys us and sometimes even angers us. How can we love someone who continually irritates us?
The answer is to surrender fully and completely to God’s word and to his commandments. What happened in Minneapolis — and all too many other places throughout our nation’s history — is the result of raw emotion, limited forethought, a lack of discipline, and a disregard for obedience.
If we claim to be disciples of Christ, we have to be more loyal and obedient to his commands. It’s not easy to love one’s neighbor. In fact, it can be incredibly difficult, but it is not impossible.
We are all God’s children, and through him, all things are possible. As we head into the weekend, I would invite you to set aside some time for prayer, and I would encourage you to pray for peace — peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, and peace on our streets.
Until we meet again, Be Blessed — Pastor John
Don’t forget to join us Sunday for worship at oakchapelumc.com.