A Pastoral Message from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
I am still processing the acts of violence and the insurrection that took place at The U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. I am shocked and dismayed at what I saw and heard - and I know that I am not alone. The traumatization, anger and weariness that is being felt by every generation and on multiple levels are not only in response to what transpired this week, but it is a visceral response to the cumulative acts of hatred, bigotry, violence and enmity that continue to be experienced and that run rampant in communities across the nation. These ongoing pervasive forces continue to create a volatile social and political environment that perpetuate division and threaten the common good.
What we witnessed this week was a violent reaction to misinformation born out of lies, unhealthy behaviors, and fear. But we also witnessed how the spirit of God was at work in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty as people stepped up to demonstrate that truth matters. The truth does matter - and the truth is that forces of hatred, violence, and destruction do not have the last word. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
Jesus Christ is the light and hope of the world who shatters all darkness and fear. As Christians we are called to be light - and to shine the light - of Jesus Christ.
I ask each of us to be light bearers by committing ourselves to the highest Christian ideals: love your neighbor, extend mercy, practice honesty, show kindness and respect, offer compassion to those who are hurting, be in ministry with those who are marginalized and oppressed, denounce hate and division, tear down walls of hostility, build bridges of unity, and be agents of healing, hope and peace.
We are the light … that shines in the darkness! “I give you as light to the nations that my salvation shall reach to the ends of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6
As your bishop, I ask you to join me in prayer:
“Almighty God, you rule all the peoples of the earth.
Inspire the minds of all women and men to whom you have committed the responsibility of government and leadership in the nations of the world.
Give to them the vision of truth and justice, that by their counsel all nations and peoples may work together.
Give to the people of our country zeal for justice and strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will.
Forgive our shortcomings as a nation; purify our hearts to see and love the truth.
We pray all these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.”
— United Methodist Book of Worship #442
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
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