“Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.” Saint Oscar Romero
There is much to be stressed about in our churches. Conflicts abound. Misunderstandings crop up, and when they do, they can leave one reeling. Archbishop Romero’s words also ring out to me, that the church “walks serene, because it bears the force of love.”
It is helpful to realize that even in our current world with its difficulties, love does matter and the Church is still very relevant. It is a place that,although not everyone agrees with one another, we can look for ways to show the love of God. This is like a breath of fresh air to the community. It is a witness that goes far beyond our understanding. It helps us to fulfill our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Two quick examples of the Church bearing the force of love are these: one of my congregations sharing the love of God with a large new family, welcoming them and their children with joy to the Communion table and finding ways to reach them outside of church to share the latest church happenings with them. The second example is my other congregation preparing for a revival. This effort has brought the church together. Church members are putting fliers out in the community, praying for a good response and working to make everyone feel loved and encouraged when they come for the nightly services.
These signs of God’s kingdom give me hope. They are a glimpse of the force of God’s gracious love in this world. Thanks be to God.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
May this be our eucharist:
proclaiming the Lord’s death,
proclaiming his eternal life,
the optimism of those who know
they are following,
even amid the darkness and confusion of our time,
the bright light of Christ,
toward your world without end. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To become educated this week:
Look for space where you can listen to impacted community members.
To cultivate growth this week:
Look for one way to collaborate with local immigrant organizations in your community this week.
To advocate this week:
Start a conversation with a neighboring congregation to respond to the harsh actions seen in our communities.
Liz Hounshell is an elder in the North Carolina Conference serving the Mt. Carmel-Salem Charge in the Capital District.