July 2015 From the Pastor

From the Pastor

It’s been a little over a week since the shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  As Christians, we know God most fully in the person of Jesus Christ, and we know that Jesus suffered.  Therefore, our faith demands that we stand in solidarity with those who suffer, because in doing so, we stand in solidarity with God.  

 

You have heard me preach it before, you’ll hear it again; you’ve read it before, you’ll read it again, I really only have one sermon, one message: Do not be afraid!  As I preached about last Sunday, that doesn’t mean we can’t feel afraid, because we can’t help how we feel, but rather we must not act out of fear.  Do not act out of fear!  

 

It’s easy to act out of fear.  The world is set up to help us, encourage us, to act out of fear.  Many of our laws, our foreign policy, our advertisements, our favorite news channels, even many churches want us, depend on us, to be afraid.  If the church is going to be different - and the church is called to be different - then it must resist fear.  A church that is afraid is not much of a church at all.  It’s a social club like any other.  

 

Resisting fear takes strength.  To get stronger we have to exercise, we have to practice not being afraid.  We have to risk being uncomfortable.  Too often, we want the church to be the one place in our life that is completely predictable and comfortable.  That may be what many churches have become, but it’s not how the movement of Jesus started out, it’s not what we have to be in the future, and it’s not what the world needs us to be.  

 

The world needs courageous acts of love.  If the church can’t or won’t be brave, then God will use other people and institutions to usher in the kingdom, because it’s never been about building the church; God’s priority is building the kingdom.

 

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is brave.  They’ve been attacked more than once, and they are still standing.  They are a true and steadfast example of Christian love in practice.  May we stand with them, as they stand with God.

 

 

                                                                                Pastor Matt

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