One of the podcast programs I regularly listen to was about trying to get people to engage in civil discussion, and how we might try to talk to one another, when the country, the state, and every town right down to each family seems polarized. One of the presenters talked about two ways of thinking about our country: (option 1) we are like a group of people with many common bonds, and we seek to develop a common good, or (option 2) we are like a group of people living in a large motel. We pay our rent (= taxes) and then live our separate lives as long as we don’t interfere with one another. He claimed that for many years option (1) seemed to be in effect, but increasingly, option (2) seems to be the way we are thinking of ourselves.
Both are American: Option 1 is about “We the People” and option 2 is about our individual “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We try to be a mix of the corporate and of the individual, but how strongly do we weight each of those? This has implications on our religious and spiritual life: how much do we individually do on our own toward God, and how much do we do toward our neighbors? The Bible tells us to do both.
At our Sunday 10:30 am service on November 19 we will talk about the prophet Amos, who wants to wake the people up by saying that God is roaring like a lion. Despite the prosperity in the land, despite the belief in a godly exceptionalism by being the chosen people, he warned that in the near future the country would be dismembered and cease to exist. The reason for this is not because of lack of prayer, lack of praise, lack of sacrifices, or lack of rituals on the part of the people, but the lack of justice and the indifference to the injustice. From this passage (Amos 5:21-24) we see that caring for people, being fair to people, and seeking justice for people seems to exceed all the religious ritual we can muster. People matter, by God!
We hope you can be at the Clinton United Methodist Church on Wilson Street at 6:00 pm Sunday November 19 for the annual Ministerial Alliance Community Thanksgiving service. This will be a time which features congregational singing, choirs from different churches, and times to reflect on how we can be thankful to God. Come join your fellow Christians by worshipping and praising God together and through the joy of music.