Anger is easy. Prayer is hard, especially for one’s enemies. And yet, that is the work we are called to do as Christ’s body.
News today broke that is not totally surprising and yet nonetheless sad – pathetic, really. “Conservative” UMC leaders are openly having discussions about actions ranging from withholding apportionments to outright schism. While division over matters of sexuality and covenant has been ramping over the years, the group stated, “the present reality, where a growing number of United Methodist bishops are unwilling to enforce the Book of Discipline, is unacceptable and untenable.”
Apparently the childhood lesson we all learned has not sunk in to this group: two wrongs don’t make a right. I am also concerned about the response of some bishops to breaches of the Discipline, and yet I don’t see that as a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
And so I offer this prayer from the United Methodist Hymnal, #564. Oddly enough, it is a Chinese prayer, no doubt from the pen of a Christian who appreciates the true nature of oppression, and the need for a unified church to witness against all that is dark and evil. I offer this prayer for myself and for others, on all sides and on no side. May the Spirit of the Christ who prayed that we “might be one” prevail against all self-righteousness and individualism. May the Holy Spirit drive out the spirit of this age in all its forms.
Help each of us, gracious God,
to live in such magnanimity and restraint
that the Head of the church may never have cause to say to any one of us,
“This is my body, broken by you.” Amen.