Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Division, anger, and pain are present throughout our communities, and emotions of separateness and otherness are felt deeply, but we are not called to be a people divided, we are called to be the Body of Christ. At this hour, the hands and feet of Christ are needed.
Jesus is calling, calling each of us to be a radical presence of love, of justice, of healing in the midst of communities where this is absent. In the face of division, we are called to lean into relationships that cross boundaries. In the face of anger, we are called to listen for the brokenness and pain that lie beneath the anger. In the midst of pain, we are called to sit alongside as a healing presence that bears, that hopes, that endures in abiding love.
At this hour, let us recommit to watching over one another with compassion and courage, praying for the Holy Spirit to grant us the grace and gifts we need each day to act with justice, to love with mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.
Now is a time for our words and our actions to shine with the light of Christ's love clearly amid the darkness of a broken world. In the midst of this light, let each of us share a radical hospitality, welcoming all into the redeeming presence of Christ. And as we draw together in Christ's love, let us be a people who acknowledge anyone who is on the margins as Jesus has taught us, letting people know that we see them, we value them, we love them. We re-commit to welcome into our life together those of every age, race, ethnic background, political affiliation, nationality, immigration status, religious background, gender identity, sexual orientation, family or socioeconomic status, educational background, and physical or mental ability. Let us embrace one another in grace, even amidst our differences.
But at this hour, communities are being threatened because of differences. Let us be a people who make it clear to anyone who threatens harm, that we see them, too, and we will not stand idly by. We will recognize and safeguard the sacred worth of all people. Let our actions, our bodily presence, and our love be a shield for anyone who is in harm's way. Let our steadfast presence shine the light of truth in resistance to evil, injustice, and oppression throughout all communities.
There will be no justice without healing and restoration. There will be no unity of spirit without compassion and love. And we will not walk humbly with our God without honest prayer. Let us begin now:
When we cling so tightly to the boundaries that divide,
When we use boundaries to cut and separate,
When we use boundaries to shield our hearts from the reality of our actions
And to hide the vulnerability of our hearts,
Forgive us and remake us.
God who weeps,
Pour out your living water to wash away the fear and hatred we cling to,
Soak deeply into the midst of our hearts and transform us so that we may dare to love as Christ.
God who creates,
Re-weave our boundaries,
So that instead of dividing, they are reformed into the containers that hold us together,
Enfolding us all within your healing love.
God who rejoices,
We give thanks that you have given us to one another as brothers and sisters;
We give thanks that you heal us;
We give thanks that you make new things out of brokenness.
"Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. God has done all this. He has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships."
--2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (GW)