This message was sent from the desk of Susan Henry-Crowe
This past Sunday, I worshipped at Asbury UMC where Dr. Ianther M. Mills is the distinguished pastor and a moral voice in the United States capitol. Articulating the fears and anxieties aroused by those who touted hate and bigotry, she gave expression for so many who are now living with questions - Who can I trust? How am I to be on guard for where and when acts of terror and racism emerge? Who really are my friends? Offering Christ’s love and solidarity to God’s people, Dr. Mills encouraged the congregation not to hide Christ’s light under a bushel but let it shine.
Reports of incidents of violence and abuse were received directly and indirectly to Church and Society this past week. Violence towards young women at gas stations, acts of hate against churches, schoolchildren terrorized and bullied in school cafeterias and bathrooms, Muslim brothers and sisters terrified for their own safety, anxiety of deportation, and the well-being of young people working here on Capitol Hill. The rhetoric that produced and allowed fear, racism, sexism, regionalism and classism to fester must be addressed. The fears are real and the wounds are deep. Repentance must come for the sins of hate sowed in our country and the world.
There are many good and faithful public servants at all levels of government. The power bestowed is the power of the people, for the people, by the people. It is for the people of every race, religion, national origin, class, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation.
For United Methodists, we are called to not only hear the fears and see the wounds, but to take action against fear and hate. Acts of hatred and violence that are being perpetrated are unacceptable and must be rejected in any and every form.
“The United Methodist Church must be proactive in resisting hate and teaching how to live in our diverse social world without passively accepting the rise of hate and bigotry. When we do nothing about hate language or horrifying atrocities, we participate in the social support of hate.” (Resolution 3421, “Grieving and Repenting from Acts of Hate and Violence.”)
As Christians we must be true to the promises made at baptism. To follow in the way that leads to love and freedom. We support active engagement in promoting diversity, support those who speak up when experiencing acts of hate, encourage the reporting of crimes of hate to officials and justice-minded advocacy groups, support witnessing to those individuals who commit acts of hate to show them compassion and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
May our prayer be “where there is hatred let me sow love.”