Bridge builders | Worship
Last updated 8/26/2020 at 12:20pm
This is likely my final contribution to the Worship column for the Beacon. After 25 years of ministry at Mukilteo Foursquare Church, and 18 of those years as the Senior Pastor, I've made the difficult decision to retire and see what God might have next for me.
In the meantime, I'm going to take a little break, and do my best to enjoy the rest of the summer by playing a some golf, traveling locally, and doing some hiking, even though the COVID-19 restrictions make it a little challenging to fully enjoy the time off.
As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about for my final worship column, I couldn't help but think about how challenging 2020 has been, and how divided we've become as a society over things like whether we should wear facemasks or not, practice social distancing to "stop the spread" of the coronavirus, whether businesses and schools should be allowed to reopen and have "business as usual", whether Black lives matter or all lives matter, whether police departments should be defunded or defended, whether Trump or Biden is the best one to lead our nation into the future, etc. etc. etc.
I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I'm smart enough to know that I don't dare get into these debates here in this column, but I mention them simply to highlight the fact that there is so much that divides us right now, and we desperately need more things to unite us.
Far too often people stand on one side of the divide or the other and throw verbal or even physical stones at one another, in hopes that our stone throwing might actually change someone's opinion and cause them to believe like we do.
It's been my experience that rarely does anyone change their opinions or beliefs because someone attacked them verbally or physically because of those opinions or beliefs. The only thing that does happen is that anger rises up, our relationship with those on the other side of the divide erodes more and more, causing the separation to become larger and larger.
Instead of being stone throwers, I'd like to encourage us to be bridge builders who are willing to engage in calm, open-minded dialogue on issues that divide us, understand that even though we may disagree with someone we can still learn from them, respect those we disagree with enough to treat them respectfully, and to understand that God's call for us to love one another isn't just referring to those we agree with, but also those we disagree with. By doing these things we can be bridge builders.
I know firsthand how challenging this can be, and I'll be the first to admit that I've had my share of passionate "discussions" with people I disagree with, but in the end when we all stand before God He isn't going to ask us which side of the political aisle we stood on, or which side of the social divide we pitched our tent on, but rather, how we did in what matters most: LOVE.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. In the end, that's what matters most. How did we do in loving God? How did we do in loving others? How did we do in treating others the way we want to be treated?
These are things that the ultimate bridge builder, Jesus Christ, taught us and modeled to us and He calls to follow Him in His example. Our world, nation, and community will never be in complete agreement on everything, but if each of us makes a commitment to be bridge builders rather than stone throwers our world really will become a much better place.
It's been my honor and pleasure to serve as a pastor in this wonderful city called Mukilteo, and to be able to be a regular contributor to the Mukilteo Beacon, and I pray that God would bless this city, every home, and every individual, and that the love of Jesus would fill all of our hearts, and bring us all together in unity. Love well and be blessed!