A Moment for Mission
“I’m all right with weaknesses, insults, disasters, harassments, and stressful situations for the sake of Christ, because when I’m weak, then I’m strong.” — 2 Corinthians 12:10b, CEB
Jesus called the disciples to “leave your home, sell everything you own and follow me.” He led them to places where marginalization had rendered people sick, hungry and burdened. There Jesus challenged systems, offered healing touch, and brought life to the dying and the dead. He disrupted the status quo in order to be and bring good news to those outside of systems of power.
Jesus continues to issue the call to discipleship in The United Methodist Church today. He calls us to disrupt the status quo—to fight systems that exclude and harm God’s children.
United Methodists have developed the propensity to focus on addressing dramatic instances of racism “out there” in the world. Meanwhile, we quietly accept, defend and participate in less dramatic but equally destructive policies, words and actions that amount to placing a knee on the necks of people of color and other marginalized groups within the church.
There is no “out there.” Explicit and implicit racism assaults the mental, spiritual and physical health of people of color in the church as well as those we are called to serve.
But we aren’t alone in answering this call. The General Commission on Religion and Race , supported by the World Service Fund, challenges, leads and equips the people of The United Methodist Church to become interculturally competent, ensure institutional equity and facilitate vital conversations about religion, race and culture. Together, we can build a more loving world.
Loving God, you call us to discipleship. Help us to recognize and respond to destructive policies, words and actions that exclude rather than embrace your children. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Sixth Sunday after Pentecost — Holy God who both calls us and confronts us: the gifts we bring to you are only a small part of multitude we have received from your goodness. In the depth of our being, we know that in calling us, what you really seek is our faith, our belief, our conviction – our very hearts. What you long for from us is not a trip to church but a lifelong journey into the world to follow Jesus with our whole being. Forgive our unbelief, our holding back, and lead us in the way that frees us from the grip of the world – the way of life! In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Mark 6:1-13)
Christ invites us to leave behind the comforts of power and privilege that lure us away from following him to uncomfortable places and, instead, to move with intentionality toward the pain points in our local congregations, communities, denomination and world. Only then will we effectively interrupt narratives that defend and accommodate racist behavior. Only then will we finally dismantle the systems that perpetuate, protect and normalize racism.
The road to General Conference offers an opportunity for the people of The United Methodist Church to commit to the discipleship journey with anti-racism at the heart. If we say yes, Christ will lead us straight to the pain points. The next faithful step can be found there.
Through the World Service Fund , your congregation supports the General Commission on Religion and Race as it strives to guide us on this challenging journey toward diversity, equality and wholeness. Thank you!
Adapted from “Moving toward the Pain,” Erin Hawkins, May 27, 2020, General Commission on Religion and Race website. Used by permission.