A MOMENT FOR MISSION
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. … Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart."
– 2 Corinthians 3:17- 4:1, NRSV
The United Methodist Church has some strong moments to celebrate during Black History Month this February. John Wesley baptized slaves in 1758, more than a century before Abolition, and in 1784, Harry Hozier, a black man, traveled and preached with Bishop Francis Asbury. Wesley was a well-known supporter of the anti-slavery movement.
These moments shape our identity as United Methodists in the body of Christ. We remember these moments, and countless others, so they can remind us of who we are, even now, as the world around us debates the value of white lives and black lives.
Not only do we have a history of supporting equality for our African-American brothers and sisters; also, our very fabric as United Methodists is rich and beautiful because we are woven together as one body.
"Those who fail to learn from their past are doomed to repeat it" is a familiar statement by Sir Winston Churchill. Maybe, as we remember our history, it will remind us of both our failures and our victories and where we need to continue to stand together.
Our giving toward the World Service Fund helps us remain connected to our past, guide us in the present and shape our future as United Methodists who seek to be one in Christ with the presence and encouragement of our General Commission on Religion and Race.
Creator God, all life given by you is a priceless gift. Grant us grace and patience to bear with one another in love as we seek to become a unified body in the world you created. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany/Transfiguration of the Lord - Glorious God, you graciously reveal the light of your wisdom to humankind. We stand in awe of you. In Christ, you set aside the veil that separated us from you. Your Spirit is transforming us to become more like Jesus. We thank you for entrusting the ministries of this church to our care. Use these offerings to encourage and enlighten our friends and neighbors. We pray in the name of your Son. Amen. (Exodus 34:29-35 and 2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:2)
Today, we cannot avoid the reality of the need for reconciliation within our nation and the world. Stories of fear, injustice and discrimination capture the headlines. Lines are drawn, and we are encouraged to choose a side based on race.
The General Commission on Race and Religion receives support of the World Service Fund and faithful United Methodists who seek to live out our call as Christ-followers who "live as one in Christ Jesus."
Its mission statement describes its role. "The General Commission on Religion and Race is building the capacity of The United Methodist Church to be contextually relevant and to reach more people, younger people and more diverse people as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
Within our connectional system, we can make a difference as individuals working together in a divided world – a people who recognize "the value of each person as a unique child of God" and who work toward healing and reconciliation between races beginning within our own United Methodist Church.