Over the past six months (or more) we’ve heard a lot about dis-unity, and division, in the church and our culture; racial, and ethnic tensions are on the rise; theological and political differences polarize. We have lost the ability to talk to one another in a way that sees the “other” as a blessed child of God. We find it is preferred to be right than to be kind. It is to this reality that Bishop Palmer invites the churches and communities of our annual Conference to create Circles of Grace.
Our District Superintendent, Rev. Brian Brown, answering Bishop Palmer’s call to create Circles of Grace, encouraged the churches of the Ohio River Valley District to begin the process of dialogue and reconciliation on Human Relations Sunday (January 18). Rev. Brown writes, “The table of Christ is one table filled with unique voices from every perspective. With so many conflicting perceptions of power and race in the United States, we must recognize there is a problem and we must create space at the table for all to participate in the conversation. Come to the Table is the name of a district-wide effort that includes a process, an event, and a dialogue – all to move forward to the place Christ’s love calls us to.”
This Sunday we participate with the churches of the Ohio River Valley District in an effort to Come to the Table as the Body of Christ. The Rev. Vance Ross, former Deputy General Secretary of the General Board of Discipleship, will remind us that as children of God we are reconciled to God through Christ and given a ministry of reconciliation.
Come to the Table is the invitation of Jesus! At Jesus’ table there is no Jew or Gentile, male or female, white or black; we are one in Christ Jesus. As we begin this process of creating Circle’s of Grace in our churches and our communities let us remember the words of our founding father John Wesley, “It is an unavoidable consequence of the present weakness and shortness of human understanding that several men will be of several minds in religion as well as in common life. . . .Although every man necessarily believes that every particular opinion which he holds is true . . . yet can no man be assured that all his own opinions, taken together, are true.” (John Wesley, Sermon On Catholic Spirit)
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance, or neighbor to join you in worship.