Your NFC – November 18, 2016

Click HERE to read the entire November 18, 2016 issue.

by Josh Bannister

by Josh Bannister

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

Well, the world changed last week politically. No one can deny that. Some of us may be excited for the future. Others of us may be terrified. But either way, we all have work to do.

No matter which way we align ourselves politically, there are people hurting in our country right now. I am a middle school teacher at Highland Park Middle School in Beaverton. The day after the election some of my students were truly terrified. The fear is real, and we have to address that fear. Despite our political differences,which we must put aside these next few years, I believe the need to address this fear is our higher calling as Christians.

God has committed to us as Christians the message of reconciliation. We must bring this message of reconciliation to those who are hurting. Victims of sexual violence and sexism are hurting. Blacks and Latinos. Women. LGBTQ people are in pain. Muslims and people of other religions. Our youth. Members of the yearly meeting are hurting. Particular leadership and pastors of the yearly meeting are hurting. My students are hurting. I’ve seen and heard the pain. The pain is real. No matter what we think or believe about sin or stand politically “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

This will look different for all of us. Some of us may go on marches and sign petitions. Some of us will wear safety pins on our shirts. Others may shut down a hurtful conversation. While some of us may take food or flowers to those in pain. But even better, we can start a conversation with someone who looks or acts different than us. Listen to their stories and their hurt. Show people that we care. Show those in pain we are capable of putting aside our differences and love no matter what.

Whatever we do, we must step out of our white Christian comfort zones and look outside of ourselves. We can’t hide and let someone else do it. We must stand in front, beside, and behind those who are hurting. We must put aside our own feelings, convictions, and alliances to find those to whom God has called us to minister. Those on the fringes and those in pain. Jesus sought out the lepers, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the widows, the poor, the sinners, and he showed that he cared. That’s what we must do now. It’s what we are commanded to do.

Our yearly meeting may also change in the upcoming months. And again, we are going to fall on different sides of the issue. And again, people are going to be deeply hurt with the decision, no matter what. But despite where we fall on the issue, we have a higher calling. We are called to put aside our own feelings and convictions. We are called to seek out those who are hurting. We are called to love. To listen to the Holy Spirit together for guidance. We are called to reconcile.

Josh Bannister grew up in the small town of Ottawa, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He moved to Oregon after college in 2007 and worked at Twin Rocks as an intern for two years. Afterwards, he moved to Newberg and immediately fell in love with Newberg Friends. He teaches middle school humanities and writing in Beaverton. And he is a huge Cubs fan. “We did it! We finally did it!”

Click HERE to read the entire November 18, 2016 issue.

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