Peace is something that North America and our World is in need of it, aren’t we? Normally as a pastor, I am very careful what I say online and how I say it because in everything I do not want to bring the message of Jesus reproach. But in these present times, me not saying anything has the very same potential.
We watch our news, look through our Facebook feeds, see what is flashing across twitter, and hear what others are telling us. North America, and our world is hurting. Accounts of unimaginable injustice and racism, acts of violence, and deep feelings of grief, loss, and sorrow grip us all. And as each day progresses, the darker and more tragic things become.
In times like this, what is our role and response as a church? What does Jesus ask us to do?
First of all, we are people driven by love. Jesus commands us to love God with everything we have, and out of that love, we love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus goes as far as to say that everything else hinges upon these two commands. We are people driven by love.
As well, we are people who are driven to serve. Jesus tells us that the greatest must become the least. The master of all must be the servant of all. This is the example He set for us as He served us in the most selfless way possible, giving up His life for us. He tells us that if we follow His example, we will be blessed in it.
Also, Jesus didn’t discriminate. Jesus didn’t choose to stay with those who had influence, or those who were of wealth or position. Jesus chose to associate with those from other nations who no self-respecting Jew would have been seen with. Jesus chose to go to the least of these, to the down and out, to the outcasts, the poor, and the rejected. He went to those who were victims of the worst of injustices, and even though He was scorned for doing so, He extended love when no one else would.
Lastly, Jesus calls us to be people of peace. He, in his counter cultural sermon on the mount, blesses those who promote peace. In a world that seems to be gripped by the acts of hate, racism, and violence that have been going on, we need to be counter cultural, and in doing so, bring healing.
In Hanover, we likely feel like we are removed from what is happening in the rest of North America. We hear the message of the black lives matter movement, and we agree with the central message of it that racism is wrong. Yet we feel isolated here in Hanover, in what feels like our quiet and isolated, rural lives.
Yet racism knows no geographical boundaries. Racism happens in our county. And racism goes against the current of the Gospel message. Therefore we, as Hanover Missionary Church, denounce all forms of racism. The message of Jesus compels us to say that black lives do indeed matter. It compels us to say that all racism is wrong. No person should feel unsafe, victimized, or of less value because of where they were born, or the colour of their skin. God created all of humanity in His image, and as His image bearers, we agree that racism is wrong.
Instead, we believe that Jesus calls us to love and serve radically. Part of loving and serving those who have been victims of racism is by acknowledging the hurt and pain caused by that action. It means us acknowledging the reality of racism and doing what we can to eliminate it. It means us looking at people, regardless of race, and seeing value in them as equals, and as people created in the image of God.
As we see tensions boiling and bubbling over with acts of violence, we do believe that we are called to be agents of peace, and people of prayer. Let us pray for our country, our neighbours to the south, and our world. Let us pray for peace. And let us also find ways that in our daily lives, we can promote the peace of Jesus in all our relationships.
Our ideology isn’t political. It isn’t driven by who is the most influential. Our ideology is driven by who Jesus was, and what He calls us to. If we want to change our world and stamp out hate once and for all, let us love like Jesus did, radically. And let us let it start in us, here in Hanover.