If you came to this blog hoping to hear Pastor Drew’s opinion on whether the U.S. government should build a wall on our southern border with Mexico, I’m sorry to let you down. The calling I have as pastor I think isn’t to make that decision for anyone else, but to help lead a congregation which gathers weekly to hear the readings of Scripture, share the Lord’s Supper, pass the peace, and so on, and to trust that in doing so the Spirit of Jesus will shape how we pray, think, and act in accordance with God’s will. I believe that He does shape us.
I will share that the “wall debate” has affected my own family in that I have a brother-in-law employed by the State Department who is impacted by the shutdown and a sister-in-law who is Guatemalan and knows first-hand the forces in Central and South America that often compel people to flee their home countries out of fear and desperation. I am praying for everyone affected by this. It’s messy and hard and heartbreaking on so many levels.
I will also share that part of my Christian practice, instead of pointing fingers at those I may think to blame, is to try and look inwardly. Why do I allow fear to construct a wall in my own heart? Why do I let differences (of so many kinds), sometimes wall me off from loving others? I am not suggesting that these questions solve the wall debate, but I do think that from a Christian perspective, good action is motivated by our own honest, humble prayer with God. Otherwise I think our actions just become angry contributions that further add to the division. So maybe instead of deriding those who disagree with us, prayer can help us to be able to speak clearly, and humbly, about why we feel Jesus is calling us (and our leaders) to act one way or another?
Ephesians 2:14 says “For Jesus himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”
I don’t want to be like the character Wilson on the TV show Home Improvement. Remember him? He was the one who was always talking to Tim Taylor, on the other side of a fence. His face was never fully visible. But many days, I think I probably am like Wilson. Only half-way able to share who I am, because (I suspect like all of us), so many factors pull me from living deeply in tune with Christ, and therefore, from being fully present.
But by God’s grace and prayer I continue to grow. On Wednesday nights this winter/spring, I am offering “Songs & Silence: A Taizé style Service” at 6:15 pm in Lackey Chapel at Christ Providence. The service is a place to find peace, joy, and rest in Christ during the week and I’d love for you to come. It’s a gentle and nonthreatening way to grow in your prayer life. And for those families with children and youth, I hope you will consider joining us for a Family Retreat at Lutheridge January 25-27. It’s theme is “Living Prayer.”
Blessings to you, my sisters and brothers, as you live out your faith in Jesus out in the confusing, complicated world…the world God loves!