Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Post-Election Pastoral Letter

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3: 22-23, NRSV)

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against such things.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.  (Galatians 5: 22-26, NRSV)

Dear Members and Friends of Community UMC, Quincy, 

            By now, the results are in and the reality of last night’s election has begun setting in for many of us, with Donald J. Trump elected as the 45th President of The United States.  For many, this outcome may be viewed as a new day and direction for our nation, while also for many, this election has created new wounds and a time of great anxiety, fear, and uncertainty.  However, the days, weeks, and months leading up to last night have weighed on our hearts just as much, as we have seen more hatred, vitriol, and negativity expressed during the campaign through the ads on TV and radio.  It has become worse with each election cycle.  As I sit here in my office waiting for the sun to come out from behind the mist that envelopes the valley this morning, I am still processing everything that has happened, but I am also actively praying as I write this pastoral letter to you.  I pray for you, the body of Christ here in Quincy.  I pray for our nation and for healing and reconciliation.  I pray for everyone who is afraid, uncertain, and grieving.  But I also pray for our nation and for President-Elect Trump.  Right now, more than ever, we need to pray, pray, pray some more, and keep on praying.  We need to remember that God’s steadfast love is with us and will always be with us. 
As we now move forward, the most important thing to remember as a people of faith is that regardless of the outcome of this election, we are STILL the Body of Christ here in Quincy and we are STILL the hands and feet of Christ in this world.  Many people today may be experiencing grief, despair, and anxiety.  Allow them the space to grieve and process.  But, please reach out to everyone.  Please be a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and a kind presence to everyone.  Please embody the founder of Methodism, John Wesley’s words that “although we do not think alike, it does not mean we cannot love alike” as well as Wesley’s three simple rules of Do no Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God.  And as your spiritual leader and friend, I offer the same to each of you, unconditional kindness even when we don’t think alike, space in my office to come and talk or vent whenever I’m here, a listening ear, and offer to partner in prayer with each of you.  I will also be at Midtown Coffee next to the Post Office this Monday from 12pm-2pm if you wish to come talk then. 
Despite the normal and healthy differences that each of us may have in our personal theology, ideology, and belief systems, it is now time more than ever to come together, find common ground, and continue to pray and work towards making our nation and our world a better place in the here and now and for future generations.  I invite you to stop what you’re doing at some point throughout the next few days and pray for our nation, pray for President-Elect Trump, pray for our world, pray for those who are afraid, and keep on praying and working towards reconciliation and peace in our community, our nation, and our world. 
As the body of Christ and his hands and feet in our world, it’s up to each of us to work together for the common good and to be the beacon of hope, especially as these nights are long and whenever times are stressful.  We also need each other, regardless of how we think.  And most importantly, I encourage everyone to practice the Fruits of the Spirit as we embody love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in these days, weeks, and months to come.  May we continue to grow in Christ and joyfully live out our faith with one another and in our greater world. 

                                                                                                Peace & Blessings

                                                                                                Pastor Andrew

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