Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
— Romans 12:14-21
There is always light
if only we’re brave enough to see it
if only we’re brave enough to be it.
— Amanda Gorman
The Hill We Climb
There is a political proverb which says, “one campaigns in poetry and governs in prose.” It occurs to me that it is more than the campaign that is poetry. The inaugurations are poetry as well — “ask not what your country can do for you . . ,” “with malice toward none . . , “ “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction . . .” Even more than campaigns and inaugurations, we as people of faith, live in poetry. We live in the vision of the possible, the dream of what can be. We, as people of faith, are called to be the light of the world. We, as people of faith, are called to overcome evil with good, to love those with whom we disagree, to live peaceable with one another.
I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is God’s hope for the world and the dream of what community can be. We may not always look like the poetry of unity. We may not always sound like the vision of unity. Even so, the call is here, in our very bones.
As Mr. Wesley, so famously observed, “we may not all think alike, but we can all love alike.” When we in the Church love fully and completely; when we hold each other in care and grace; when we lift one another and bear one another’s burdens, the light of Christ shines, the world is no longer dark, and evil is overcome with good. May it be so.
The Church’s One Foundation
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the World.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.
Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war,
she waits the consumption of peace forever more;
til, with the vision glorious, her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.
Great dreamer, grant that we, your people, may be so shaped by the vision you give that our very being becomes your light. Grant that your Church may be renewed in devotion, grace, and love. Through Jesus Christ, the head of the Church. Amen.
Pastor Tom Greener