I woke up this morning feeling called to make a post on this blog. I cannot say what for certain is the thing that got me going for it, but here we are.
Have you ever just felt at a loss for what is going on in the world? I know many of you have and that it stirs up many emotions and feelings. This last weekend, our local Jewish community faced anti-semitism right outside of their place of worship. The Saturday paper from last week has a headline that reads "Crisis Team Funds Remain Uncertain." What a world right? And that is just what is happening in Missoula Montana. We face many global issues, those which are making headlines and those that are not and with all that is going on, perhaps you just want to stay in bed some days. I know I do.
But yet we keep going. Perhaps this is out of habit or obligation, but we get up and move. I must be honest, until recently, I lost joy in getting up and going in the morning (and this more than just the fact that I am not a morning person) because there was just so much stress and negativity. But recently, I have been going through a "faith revival" if you will. I have began to listen to a podcast called "Napkin Scribbles" with Dr. Leonard Sweet, a professor of several seminaries. His short, reflective episodes have helped humble me in my way of interacting with life and has really given me a chance to have some very positive reflection on my faith and calling.
This biggest help to me from this podcast is when I was reminded that no matter how much 'leadership' I am given in church, I am still a follower, a servant of Jesus Christ. Now, to some this may seem quite an odd thing to find comfort in, but the way I see it is as follows. The faith of Christianity is based on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, his call for people was not to pick up arms, pick up a Bible, pick up whatever and attack. No, Jesus call has always been, rise up and follow me. When we choose faith in Jesus, we are accepting the call to rise and follow. So what does this mean? It means that we must learn from the examples he gave, to care for societies "least of these," to have meaningful reflection on our actions and how they positively or negatively work in our world, to have a life of service to others.
So often I feel we get lost, we argue over who is right and who is wrong, but I have this feeling and calling to go to the roots of my denomination, the movement my faith background comes from, where the focus is on getting back to the simple things of faith. Life of study, reflection and service. All the other stuff we add on to faith and religion is human, and I do not find any of the creeds or prayers or whatnot bad, I just do not see them as important in my faith as studying, reflecting and serving. So as we are facing this troubling world, we must ask ourselves how we are doing those things? How are we serving God's kindom? Perhaps it is through supporting aide organizations? Perhaps it is through volunteer work or community activism? There are a plethora of things we can do, we just need to start with a single step and begin to make positive changes in the world around us. If we all start to do this, in no time will our world become a better place.
My start today for making the world a better place is this, I condemn Anti-semitism, White Supremacy and Christian Nationalism (which in its modern form supports hate, anti-semitism, white supremacy and policies that are not in line with faith in Jesus). I do not believe these thing hold any value for our world today and in fact cause harm to our neighbors and fracture our communities. As part of our service to Jesus and as part of loving our neighbors, let us be vocal in our stance against these hateful and harmful and things. Instead, let us share Love, Compassion, Grace and Mercy with all we meet.
May the loving Creator/Sustainer/Redeemer watch over this world every day and guide us into a beautiful future where all of God's beloved are able to live lives without fear.
Mat Goodrich, Minister