St. Charles and Dover United Methodist Church
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.

Pastor's Reflection

 

Shalom,

In our lives today, we are bombarded constantly with negative attitudes and images. It seems as if many conversations begin and end withstatements, adversarial in nature, of what we don’t believe or what we are against. Many of us have heard messages that politics were either not to be a topic of conversation or un-Christian. Yet, when we look at the teachings and modeling of Jesus it is very obvious we are to be political, just not partisan.

Read these words from Parker Palmer, When we forget that politics is about weaving a fabric of compassion and justice on which everyone can depend, the first to suffer are the most vulnerable among usour children, our elderly, our mentally ill, our poor, and our homeless. Asthey suffer, so does the integrity of our democracy.”

What would the world be like if we focused on what we did believe and told our own truth? If we live according to the teaching of Jesus and use his words and actions as a filter for all our attitudes, decisions and speech, it would change.

Parker Palmer reflects on the necessity of heart-consciousness within politics in his book, “Healing the Heart of Democracy”:

When all of our talk about politics is either technical or strategic, to say nothing of partisan and polarizing, we loosen or sever the human connections on which empathy, accountability, and democracy itself depend. If we cannot talk about politics in the language of the heartif we cannot be heartbroken, for example, that the wealthiest nation on earth is unable to summon the political will to end childhood hunger at homehow can we create a politics worthy of the human spirit, one that has a chance to serve the common good? . . .

Here are five interlocking habits of the heart . . . deeply ingrained patterns of receiving, interpreting, and responding to experience that involve our intellects, emotions, self-images, and concepts of meaning and purpose. These five habits, taken together, are crucial to sustaining a democracy.

     We must understand that we are all in this together. Ecologists, economists, ethicists,

          philosophers of science, and religious and secular leaders have all given voice to this

          theme. . . .

    We must develop an appreciation of the value of “otherness.”. . . [This] can remind us of the

          ancient tradition of hospitality to the stranger. . . .

    We must cultivate the ability to hold tension in life-giving ways. . . . When we allow [these]

          tensions to expand our hearts, they can open us to new understandings of ourselves

          and our world, enhancing our lives and allowing us to enhance the lives of others. . . .

    We must generate a sense of personal voice and agency. Insight and energy give rise to

          new life as we speak and act, expressing our version of truth while checking and

          correcting it against the truths of others. . . .

    We must strengthen our capacity to create community. . . . The steady companionship

          of two or three kindred spirits can kindle the courage we need to speak and act as

          citizens.

He speaks from a deep faith and lives his life staying connected to Jesus – these five interlocking habits of the heart are a pattern he has developed out of that faith which he shares with us.
I find myself deeply troubled by the many ways movement is visible today away from the place of compassion and inclusion, from love without conditions and judgments, from care for the most vulnerable and the refugee, from making all secure in food, shelter, health care, and safety, increasing violence, and from care for the environment. Without these, the teachings and example of Jesus are not being followed.

Time to get back to basics. Read the Gospels, reflect and pray. Always be willing to ask yourself in any situation – what would Jesus do? What does he see with his eyes of love that I also need to see? Who is being hurt right now that Jesus would like me to help? Is there a change that needs to happen to move back into the place of compassion and care? What could you do to help?

If we could spread love as quickly as we spread hate and negativity, what an amazing world we would live in. Exactly the one Jesus intends

                                                                   Pastor Heather