Working Together

Beloved Church,

I believe there is important work that you and I are being called to right now. It is not new work to the Church, but it is work to which we need to recommit ourselves.

It is recommitting ourselves to shining the light of Christ’s love in all places the dangerous, damaging, and dark shadows of fear, hatred, and evil lurks in this world, in this country, in this community, in this church, in your families, and even in our own lives.

It is recommitting ourselves to stand with the least, the last, the lost, and the marginalized.

It is recommitting ourselves to stand with the people who fear for their very lives and with those who feel that they have been heard for the first time in a long time.

It is recommitting ourselves to fighting for justice by making sure that every person is safe and welcome in the Body of Christ by making sure that we are listening to the ONLY voice which matters, the voice of Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

It is recommitting ourselves to live in and express the fullness God’s enduring, expansive love.

But please hear me when I say this is the work of each of us, trusting, moving and responding in our faith.

This is not the work of a political party.

It is not the work of one leader.

It is also not work to be done alone, or only by you or me.

It is our collective work knowing and trusting we are not alone.

For we have and always will have a God who is bigger than the chasm and more powerful than the differences we face in our lives, our families, our churches, our communities, our country and our world.

Honoring the God of ALL of us, loving our beloved siblings, showing grace to those with different opinions than ours, listening to the pain of those who are afraid, and praying for this divide to be healed.

Yes, we have our work cut out for us. Yet, consider this powerful reminder.

It is a story originally written by Carter Heyward which I first encountered in Parker Palmer’s book Touching Our Strength:

“Once there was a wise old woman who lived in a small village. The children of the village were puzzled by her—her wisdom, her gentleness, her strength. One day, several of the older children decided to fool her. No one could be as wise as everyone said she was,

and they set out to prove it.

So they found a baby bird. One of the boys cupped it in his hands

and said to his friend, ‘We’ll ask her whether the bird I have in my hands is dead or alive.

If she says it is dead, I will open my hands and let it fly away.

If she says it’s alive, I’ll crush it and she’ll see that it’s dead.’

So they went to the woman and presented her with this puzzle. ‘Old woman,’ the little boy asked, ‘the bird in my hands, is it dead or alive?’ The old woman became very still, studied the boy’s hands, then looked carefully into his eyes. ‘It’s in your hands,’ she said.”

Beloved Church, the work is in our hands. It always has been and it always will be. But we are not alone. And we cannot do it alone. We need each other.

Let us recommit ourselves to do that which Christ has called us to do together.

Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister