We are living in a time with when storms are prevalent. There are storms brewing all around us and many of us can get sucked up into those storms. There are storms regarding COVID and how bad it is, there are storms about whether we should be forced to get a COVID vaccine, there are storms about mask wearing, there are storms about shutting down. That is just a start of storms whirling around us and that is just on the COVID front. There are storms regarding Trump and Biden still, there are storms about saying "Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays", there are storms about size of government and taxes, there are storms about school closings, and even storms about types of music or foods we should eat. Let me be clear, it is alright to hold an opinion and it is alright to have discussions and to try to educate others on our views BUT it is not alright to create a storm. Storms are violent, and storms can be brutal, storms can destroy lives. As Christians, we are called to be salt and light not anger and hatred.
On Saturday night, Asbury United Methodist Church, a historically Black church at the corner of 11th and K in DC, was the target of racial violence when demonstrators tore down a banner on their property that read, "Black Lives Matter" and literally burned it in the street. The sign burning was captured on Twitter. The senior pastor there, one of my former District Superintendents, Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills wrote that to "see our name, Asbury, in flames" was most upsetting to her and that the action for her "was reminiscent of cross burnings. We had been so confident that no one would ever vandalize the church, but it has happened." She goes on to say, "Asbury United Methodist Church abhors violence of any kind. We call upon all to join us in prayer for our community, church, and the people who are responsible for this hateful behavior...."
Tom's Creek Church family, regardless of your political affiliation, I ask that you would join with me in standing with the people of Asbury UMC, and praying for and with them, and praying also for our nation--for healing, justice, equality, and peace.
You see there is more than the weather storm that is coming to us today that is breaking out across this nation. There are storms that turn into screaming, and fighting, and violence. Sadly, some who took part in the actions in D.C proclaim Christ as their Lord and Savior, and yet they do not get what it means to be a Christian. We don't have to be ambivalent, we can have views and thoughts, but what matters is how and where we share our views. Friends, it is easy to get caught up in storms and to post hateful and angry things, which adds fuel to the storms.
Advent is a time when we remember that Christ will return and when Christ comes our actions in life will be judged. Did our words and actions show us to be a follower of Christ? Did we just say we trusted Christ as our Lord and Savior but then we led a life that was filled with hatred, with excluding others, with being part of the storms in this world that destroy and harm?
Let us all reflect on how we can more perfectly reflect the grace of Christ in this world. Let us think about our words and actions to see if they exemplify what Christ came to uphold or if they are of our own fallen humanity. As the winter storm comes in this day and into tomorrow let us think about the ways we have been trapped in storms of hatred and exclusion either by word (that includes Facebook posts) or deed. Then let us commit to cleaning up any ways we have added to the storms of life. Just like it is not easy to start cleaning up after a weather storm goes by, it is not easy for us to begin the work of reconciliation from the storms we have been a part of it. Yet both are vital for us to begin and the sooner the better because we do not know the hour of Christ's return. Let us set our hearts right, let us seek forgiveness, and let us then avoid adding to any more storms in this world.