Over that past six months we have experienced a number of worldwide horrors that lead us to dismay and a sense of helplessness. I need only mention the names of places, Dallas, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Orlando, Paris, Nice, Baghdad, and Kabul (this list is incomplete) for you to feel a sense of hopelessness.
Jesus was clear that Christians are called to bring light and justice to this world as one of our Kingdom building tasks. Despair should never be a part of a Christian’s vocabulary. Instead, after prayer and discernment we are called to act. But how can we when the issues are so big, so overwhelming; terrorism, systemic racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and outright hate? What can one person or even a few people do to impact these issues?
Early in July, Pastor Joy shared the concept of Holy Listening with the congregation. Holy Listening is the process of learning to listen to another without drawing conclusions or expecting to even provide an immediate response. Instead, through prayer, you open your heart so that you can hear the pain of another, providing you with the spiritual strength to act in the most appropriate means possible.
Once we have trained in and practiced Holy Listening for a few months, we will then engage in this process with another United Methodist congregation. We are in talks with several of our African American churches to work with them. After each episode of evil in our world we feel anxious and want immediate answers. Our world did not come to its present situation overnight so this will take us time. Please consider if you are ready to be a part of a process that will take time, strength, spiritual maturity, and patience, but one, which in the end, will cement another brick or two on the walls of God’s Kingdom.