A Moment for Mission
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." — Matthew 5:16, NRSV
It's undeniable that we are living in divisive times, particularly in matters of politics and race. This is not unique to history, in fact, some of John Wesley's last words were written in a letter to an anti-slavery crusader, "Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it."
While American slavery has gone away, the echo of it continues to be heard. The fear and frustration is still rippling into our present and carrying division along with it. This division goes against the very nature of the gospel and confirms that now is the time for the church to shine the light of Christ's love for all people.
The United Methodist Church continues shining light into the darkness of racial division through the work of the General Commission on Race and Religion, whose focus is on institutional equity, vital conversations and intercultural competency.
We grow in our intercultural competency when we lift up and celebrate one another, as we are doing this month during Black History Month. Our generous giving to the World Service Fund allows this important work of equipping and growing the church to be a beacon of Christ's light as we together pursue the unity to which the body of Christ is called.
God, fill us with the light of your love. Grant us courage to shine this light into dark places that do not recognize that all of us are created as bearers of your image. Give us wisdom to act in ways that lift up all of your people. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany - Our Heavenly Father, with great kindness you lead your people. You give wisdom to help us recognize Christ as the Lord of glory. Enlighten us by your Spirit to discern how to use the gifts that you have bestowed on us. May all of our church's ministries serve as channels of your powerful grace to people in need of help. We dedicate these tithes and offerings through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. Amen.(1 Corinthians 2:1-16)
As we celebrate Black History Month in February in The United Methodist Church, we are celebrating our brothers and sisters in Christ who have worked as pastors and missionaries even before the abolition of slavery. We celebrate the faithfulness of those who have served and worshipped in a church that wasn't ready to see them as brothers and sisters until decades later.
We celebrate those who have led us toward recognizing we are all created in the image of God. We celebrate that together we are a better reflection of God's creation.
There continue to be racial tensions in our nation, in our communities and even in our churches. One way The United Methodist Church seeks to continue shining light and pursuing unity in the body of Christ is through the General Commission on Race and Religion, which seeks to equip the church in the pursuit of right relationships with God and one another. This important work continues through our generous giving toward the World Service Fund.