February 05, 2023 – Black History Month/General Commission on Religion and Race/5th Sunday after the Epiphany


A Moment for Mission

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”- Micah 6:8, NRSV

February – Black History Month – has become an important yearly celebration in the United States. In The United Methodist Church, we remember the countless Black Methodist pioneers who played an integral role in spreading the news of God’s grace to the world and challenged us to encounter the Holy Spirit in new ways.

Remembrances of accomplishments and progress, however cannot be separated from memories of slavery, oppression and injustice in the name of which millions of Africans and those of African descent suffered. Ideas of white supremacy dominated European and American thought, causing the revision and deletion of Black history. That anger and deep-rooted hatred seeped its way into the church, and even the Wesleyan movement, as congregations were segregated and some church leaders became slaveholders.

Scripture continually shows God’s focus on justice for and redemption of the oppressed and brokenhearted. In the same vein, Jesus came to draw people together with words of peace and love, contrary to the anger and decisiveness of the day. The church has not always lived into that spirit, perpetuating injustices toward people of color for centuries.

The United Methodist Church acknowledges the sin of racism and is committed to rejecting and ending its presence in all aspects of the church. As a follower of Christ, you have the opportunity to ensure the success of this commission. When your congregation supports the General Commission on Religion and Race through the World Service Fund, you help create vital curriculum, training opportunities and resources that help the church at all levels live into a vision of racial equality. The agency encourages and equips the people of The United Methodist Church to be an intentionally diverse body of Christ and addresses injustice broadly pertaining to issues of poverty, nationalism, tribal conflicts, gender discrimination, homophobia, disability and generational bias.

Your generosity through the World Service Fund will bring the freedom and love of Christ to the world, making it a better place for all.

Children’s Message
Have you ever had to help someone figure something out? (Allow children time to answer.)

We can’t know everything, so sometimes we need help. A long time ago, God sent us prophets. Do you know what a prophet is? (Allow for answers.) A prophet is a person who loves and listens to God and shows other people how to follow God when they aren’t doing a good job. Being a prophet would be kind of scary, wouldn’t it?

The prophet Micah lived thousands of years ago. Back then, people had to bring “offerings,” or special gifts, to God. Sometimes it was something they grew, like wheat, if they wanted to tell God “Thank you.” Other times, they brought an animal like a bull or a lamb as a way to say “I’m sorry” to God for the bad things they had done.

The people wanted to know how much they needed to bring in order to please God. Micah told them, “God doesn’t need anything!” Instead, God wanted the people to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. What do you think that means? (Allow for answers.)

To seek justice means making sure everyone can have the same opportunities. To love mercy means that God wants us always to be kind and do the right thing, even when no one is watching. To walk humbly with God means we remember God is with us and loves us, but that we aren’t God. We don’t make the rules or decide who gets what. God wants everyone to be treated fairly and with love!

Let’s pray: God, thank you for loving us. Help us to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you. We want to be kind to others and help them know that you love them. Amen.

Offertory Prayer
God of power and might, guide us to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you. As we celebrate Black History Month with our offerings, may we remember our history of injustice and violence so that we might build a future of justice and peace. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries
God of all creation, source of every blessing: you have given us so much. As we bring our tithes and gifts to you this day, these seem so small by comparison, unless we see that we are truly called to give ourselves back to the world. May we be the salt that brings value and flavor into relationships with those around us. May we be the light that helps others find their way to your love and care. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, who came to help us see all we could be. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget
As we celebrate Black History Month, we remember that Black history is everyone’s history. Black individuals have been at the forefront of some of the most significant cultural and scientific advancements in history. Their gifts, skills and talents have blessed our world.

Black Methodist pioneers did the same for the church as they challenged us to experience God in new and unique ways through worship, song, dance and scholarship. They continue to show us that God can transcend boundaries and connect with us, no matter who or where we are.

The life of the United States and of The United Methodist Church is richer because of Black individuals and the experiences they bring.

Jesus calls us to walk the way of love and peace that leads to inclusion and acceptance. When we choose to follow Christ, we stand against racial injustice and to do no harm, do good and stay in love with God.

Take the first step in your walk toward justice. Through the World Service Fund, support the General Commission on Religion and Race today to ensure that The United Methodist Church is well-equipped to resist the evil, injustice and oppression of racism. Thank you for your generosity!


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