Listen to this Post via Text-to-Speech Narration
by Rev. Kim Wood, Conference Minister
Go forth into the world to serve God with gladness. Be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honor all people; love and serve Christ, rejoicing in the power and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
These are the words I would share with the congregations I served as a benediction after we had come to the table of God’s grace for Holy Communion. I remember when I first officiated Communion, how nervous I was that I would mess it up. Even after I felt I had it “properly” memorized, I kept a notecard with the words in the pocket of my robe, just in case. It took quite a while for me to feel comfortable leaving my prompt behind. It wasn’t because I was worried that I would sound unpolished or unprepared if I fumbled over the words. It was that they felt so profound to me, and I wanted to be sure that people heard them, soaked them in, received their marching orders for how to live as Christ’s servants faithfully, wherever we all might be. This rhythmic cadence sent us out into the world time and again with the reminder to care for one another, especially those who found themselves or were forced into living spaces that left them facing a disadvantage.
There are millions of people under attack right now in our world. Just look at the newsfeed on your phone and you will see regular entries about the death and destruction of our siblings in Ukraine as Russia continues to wage war on this country which is “neighbor.” People continue to try to flee at an alarming and necessary rate, many of who find themselves with no clear path to safety. Turn on one of the news channels or segments to hear about how state legislations continue to press in on our siblings who are transgender, with particular attention to doing damage to children, youth, and young adults. Snow, ice, wind, and rainstorms have moved across the country in broad, bold strokes, leaving many without power and heat. For those on the margins of economic security and beyond, access to safe shelter and repair is often scarce or unavailable as the power of money continues to wreak havoc on those people without it. I can’t help but hear these precious words over and over again in my head: strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, no evil for evil. Provide steadfast care for one another.
As we continue our Lenten journey, I hope you will repeat and hear these words, as well, not just in your head, but upon your hearts. In this time when there is a cultural focus on causing harm, may we, gathered and named as Jesus Followers, hold strong to caring for our neighbors and loving one another. And may we constantly look for ways to do so not only in words but also in action – if you pay attention, you just might find a few opportunities in this e-news or website!