President, Community of Christ Canada West Mission Centre
Black Lives Matter
Indigenous Lives Matter
Lives of People of Colour Matter
Are you weary of 2020 yet? Would you like to hit the “reset” button and start it all over again? Or do you want to push “fast forward” and just get through it to see if 2021 can be any better?
Have you found yourself conflicted over the day’s headlines – whether they have to do with societal response to COVID-19, or societal upheaval over issues of race, or other large social and political questions of the moment? Is it clear to you what your response should be as a Christian or as a member of Community of Christ? Do you see, as I do, people arguing both sides of an issue and each invoking morality and informed opinion as supporting their side?
Who are you looking to for guidance and direction? Political leaders? Scientists? Doctors? Lawyers? Your church leaders? Other spiritual leaders? Media or Hollywood or sports personalities? How about a random person on social media who says they have the answer(s)?
Have you noticed I have done nothing but ask you questions? Are you annoyed with me yet?
If you don’t like my questions, you may not like my statements either. Sometimes God has difficulty in breaking through to us with the spiritual guidance that we desire and expect. The theme scripture from the lectionary for this past Sunday was Matthew 10:24-39. It illustrates this faith conundrum very well. You may know it. These are the verses where Jesus tells his followers to “not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” but rather to “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (v. 28) Then he challenges our perceptions of him as a person of peace with verse 34: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He goes on to describe that conflict can be expected among close family members and that his followers need to love him more than they love their parents. It is a challenging and frankly frightening few verses. The scarier thing may be that we are living in such a time where there is much to fear and cause conflict between persons who are otherwise respectful and loving of each other.
The on-line worship resources for last Sunday conclude by observing that “Jesus does not say to love someone instead of him, but to love no one more than you do him. … (F)ollowing him means we can’t set aside the gospel for another relationship.”
So – do you feel better yet? Me neither. This life of faith – of continually seeking understanding – is hard. And Jesus never promised us it would be easy. If it is of any comfort, I am right there with you trying to find my way through the challenges of our day and time.
I pray for you God’s blessings of guidance, understanding, and peace in these challenging times.
Mission Centre President
Canada West Mission Centre
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537