Delayed, Not Canceled
For the love of God is this, that we obey God’s commandments. And God’s commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.
1 John 5:3-4
Our next Presbytery meeting comes this Saturday, June 19th. This date is often called “Juneteenth” and commemorates June 19, 1865, when the State of Texas declared emancipation, two years after the Emancipation Declaration took effect. This holiday is a celebration of liberation, but also of justice delayed, overcome only by the perseverance of the faith and spirit of the ancestors of our African-American siblings today.
It is fitting, therefore, that this Presbytery meeting is dedicated to empowering us to follow Christ’s mission of justice and peace in our world. Though many have lamented the long delays in confronting injustice against vulnerable people in our presence, we nonetheless strive to learn from each other about how to be more loving and more effective witnesses to the power of God’s grace.
At the meeting, we will learn about the latest on pandemic safety in our churches, initiatives we are taking to further God’s kingdom, and progress for established churches and new worshiping communities. We will hear from individuals in our midst with different perspectives to share, including voices that we rarely hear, such as asylum seekers who are settling into peaceable lives in the United States, and church leaders from Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia. And we will announce several different resources for support and development that the Presbytery will be offering. I believe there will be glimpses into our ministry that will inspire you, and I strongly encourage you to join us, and invite others to join the meeting. The meeting is on Zoom so please register for the meeting here. We anticipate the business meeting will go from 9-10 am, with the Day of Empowerment and Engagement activities from 10 am-noon, and everyone is welcome for any part or all of it.
Yesterday we heard of another historic event, this time in Israel. An unlikely coalition government was adopted with a one-vote margin. The coalition includes eight parties that represent a broad spectrum of views, including the United Arab List, the first Islamic Arab Israeli political party to be part of the governing coalition of Israel. The New York Times described the first Prime Minister of the coalition, right-wing Naftali Bennett, once Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, this way:
It would be akin to Mitch McConnell abandoning Donald Trump to work with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chuck Schumer — and Ocasio-Cortez and Schumer saying yes.
It seems that only God will be able to guide this coalition to break down the political gridlock that has damaged Israel, even in the eyes of the Western world. Let us pray that God will show God’s glory through these unlikely agents, as God did in so many unlikely situations in the Bible.
Closer to home, we look for small glimpses of hope that love will prevail. A New Yorker named Meir Kay tried what he calls his “Blindfold Hug Experiment.” You can view the responses at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2efPkjLS_SA.
In the middle of busy New York City, he stood blindfolded with a sign saying:
My name is Meir
I am a Jew.
I stand for peace, how about you?
Let’s share a hug between us two.
And show the world what LOVE can do.
It can be easy to despair of justice that seems to have been delayed beyond redemption. But God has given us “the victory that conquers the world, our faith.” Perhaps our faith calls us to reach out to unlikely neighbors for the salvation of our world. Perhaps our faith calls us to take unlikely steps to live out God’s purposes in the world. Perhaps our faith calls us to
love beyond our fear. Let us see how we can show the world what God’s love can do.
See you on Saturday,