Παρασκευή, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Reconciliation: Ambassadors of the Greater Kingdom (a voice from African-Americans Orthodox Christians)

 
Photo from here
[...] I have already determined that I’ll go to work, return home for a while, and go back to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Wednesday, November 9th.  We are continuing with the Canon of Racial Reconciliation with our Compline Prayers followed by Bible Study.  While I am at it, I want to thank Fr. Milton and my good brothers & sisters at St. Demetrios for committing to this fellowship.
In such a political hurricane as we are experiencing, we Christians of all stripes tend to forget where our true citizenship belongs.  Some of the most insulting memes and post on social media are coming from people who profess to believe in Jesus Christ.  I have found this among nominal believers who only step into a church for special occasions.  I have found this among clergy.  We believers have every right to have a political preference and support the American Solidarity, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Republicans, and whatever else party is out there.  But, when we use an attitude, temperament, and (in some cases) language that is no different than that of the world, we should not wonder why there is a growing number of people who shun church membership and belief in Christianity.  We weld ourselves so much to achieving authority in this kingdom that we forget that God has called us to be ambassadors of the greater kingdom.

Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black Conference with Bishop Neofitos from Kenya (see here)

There are many people who have had enough of the anger, conflict, and drama of the world and want a place of peace and nourishment.  We Christians are to point the way to this place by the way we act, speak, and (even) think.  Looking back at our most recent St. Moses the Black Conference, this is what we had.  There were brothers & sisters who were on both sides of the political fence as well as some on a third fence.  But, that was not the reason why we gathered together.  We gathered in Indy to worship with one another, find aid in our own spiritual walk, and take something back to our communities to help us show the light of Christ.  I don’t know if anyone’s political perspectives changed that weekend.  But, I believe we all saw that we need to look beyond our differences and  to live to the higher standard that God calls us and do so in humility and love.

Heiromonk Alexi reminded us that our task as ambassadors is “not to change the people to whom he is sent, but to represent the King whom he serves.”  The only way to represent Christ is to be connected with God and connect with the people around us.  This means that we cannot hold on too tightly to left or right wing politics.  Instead, we must follow the example of Jesus who did not come to judge, but to reconcile sinners to Himself.  And if the sinless One could take on flesh and love us who are so undeserving, how much more should we reach out to one another?  No doubt, the toxicity developed during this presidential campaign will not disappear a couple of days after the election.  But, we Christians can provide a refreshing spring of holiness and peace in the midst of the toxicity.

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The Kingdom of Heaven, where racial discrimination has no place
Solutions to end racism already given; must act on it!

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