America, Babylon, and the UMC

In the past week two major news stories have taken up all the oxygen in the news.  The stock market plummeted (and some people on social media seem happy about it.)  The uncertainty of the coronavirus is upon us (and some people seem to be hoping it is a tragic and overwhelming event in our country.)  I will leave their motives alone.

When I hear Americans rooting for bad things in our country or our world, I always think of Jeremiah chapter 29 when the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon.  They were under a foreign rule in a foreign land against their will.  Yet, Jeremiah the prophet of God told them they would be there a while and they should, “Build houses, plant gardens, and raise families”.  Jeremiah tells them that when Babylon does well, they will do well, so they were to work for the good of Babylon.  In verses 8-9 Jeremiah tells them not to listen to the rebel rousers who are trying to stir trouble in the Lord’s Name, that God Himself said He did not send them to prophesy.  God would, in due time, bring the Jews back from captivity, and until then they should settle in and make the best of it.  That is good advice in our world today.  And even as people work for change, there are ways to work for change without being hateful.  There are ways to work for change without rooting against people.

A similar division is going on in the United Methodist Church.  After sincere and lengthy efforts to move forward as one cohesive church, most in the UMC have come to the conclusion that the United Methodist Church is not and can not be united.  Most believe we can no longer be faithful to God together.  As I see it, one group believes God is calling the church to do something new, often quoting Isaiah 43:19: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” and another group believes God is calling the church to “hold fast to sound doctrine” from 2 Timothy 1:13.  From my perspective, one group believes God affirms people as “He made them” and another group believes people are born in to sin and God changes people.

I did not plan for today’s post to end up here where it has.  I do not have a tidy ending.  I do not know how it is going to work out for our country or for the UMC.  But I know God is on the throne.  And I know the enemy of God is still prowling around like a roaring lion seeking those he may devour, seeking to kill and destroy.  I refuse to let the politics of our country or our church suck me in to the enemy’s hate.  I refuse to let anything draw me away from my calling as a child of God to work for the good of those in my community, my country, and my world.  I will continue serving my neighbor even as I lovingly warn them there is a way that leads to death and a way that leads to life.  I will implore them to choose life.  God help me do those things, and give me peace that You will work out the rest.  God, I pray for the leaders of our country and the leaders of Your church.  Lord, in Your mercy.

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This entry was posted in Hard times, Walking the Walk and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to America, Babylon, and the UMC

  1. Sandra K Binotto says:

    Amen, God still sits on the throne! Good article.

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