Wholeness in a Fragmented World
This week I traveled to Indianapolis with a team of church leaders from Southern California for the Disciples of Christ’s biannual General Assembly. It was a great trip for a number of reasons. It was amazing to meet hundreds of people from all around the world that are engaged in meaningful work that is bringing peace and unity in an often fragmented world. This week was also historic for our denomination. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) elected a new General Minister and President, Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, who is now the first African-American woman to lead a mainline denomination. After her election by the assembly of church leaders from the United States and Canada, she said, "This is about God's work in the church we all love; the church universal. I need you to show up. You've been prepared. You have tremendous gifts. Show up for justice. Show up with your local congregations. Be who you know you can be. I cannot do this job alone. I need my family to show up and I know you will.” Her challenge extends to our community in Los Angeles to be inspired to do the reconciling work of Christ in our local community with a spirit of unity.
It was also a historic week for Mission Hills Christian Church as we were officially recognized and presented a certificate on Tuesday evening by the LGBTQ+ affirming organization, AllianceQ, as a welcoming and affirming ministry that celebrates ALL people. In our culture today it is easy to be divisive. Our most watched TV shows and even our news programs are orientated around debate and animosity towards one another. The centering verses of the General Assembly were John 17:20-23 in which Jesus says, “I pray they will be one…” As followers of Jesus, we must serve in unity those who are forgotten, disenfranchised, and suffering in our world. This also means that we must stand strong against those in positions of power who seek to take away people’s right to healthcare, education, or a living a full life. Last Sunday, I went to Central Christian Church where Rev. William Barber preached that “bowing down is not an option.” Later this week, he was arrested outside of Senator Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington D.C. for protesting the newest redundancy of the healthcare bill set on dismantling the Medicaid system and basic healthcare for the most vulnerable Americans. In our unity as Christians, bowing down to injustice and cruelty is not an option. May we embrace the beauty in our world through prophetic actions that make God’s dream for peace and reconciliation for all things a reality. I am more inspired than ever to be on this journey of seeking wholeness in a fragmented world with you, and I am excited to see how our church will love, serve, and worship together under the leadership of Rev. Teresa Hord Owens.