When I sit down to write The News from the Pews every other week, I begin by asking myself, “Self, what are you thinking about?”
This morning I am having a hard time sorting out my thoughts and finding focus. So I thought I should be honest about that. After reading the news I look at each morning and listening to NPR as I drove to work, I am caught up once again in the violence in what we call the Holy Land. One group of people invades another, leading to death and retaliation and revenge. As history has proved over and over again, no one wins.
And I am thinking about Old Jerusalem, the most ancient part of the city where Jesus walked. Within the old city today are four sections—the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter. I remember, when I was there in October 2012 and walked those streets and alleys, how one section blended into another. People of different ideologies and religions, people who all traced their faith back to Abraham, chose to live and work within a very tiny geographical area because of how sacred this place was to all of them.
But let me tell you what else is going on in my mind: whenever I get overwhelmed with the chaos of the world, I double down on my determination to follow Jesus Christ. I become even more convinced that The Downtown Church has something important to say to our community about love and grace. I think with gratitude of the people who call this their church home—the young and old, the rich and poor, the believers and nonbelievers—who choose to love God and neighbor.
And today I also find that I can’t wait for Bluegrass Sunday when we will worship together in this small corner of the world. Who do you know who needs a place where they are welcome and accepted? Who could you invite to step away from the chaos into a sanctuary of hope and love? Bring them on Sunday, in person or online, so that they might learn for themselves that love wins.
See you Sunday,