We are in the middle of the sermon series on the Paul’s letter the Philippians. Leslie Coates preached the first week and Rebecca Goltry Mohr preached week two. I was back in the pulpit for week three. What a week it has been.
I had my sermon written on Thursday and had a fun take on how we use our self righteousness to play hide and seek with God. I wanted to liken it to a toddler who hides behind a curtain, but you can see their feet and hear their giggles. With God and often with each other we often hide even through we are not really hidden.
Nonetheless, that interesting twist on the third chapter of Galatians took a back seat with the Supreme Courts reversal of Roe versus Wade. We knew it was coming, still it was disheartening and heartbreaking for many and a time of celebration for others. As a United Methodist Clergy, I honor and uphold the nuanced understanding the Book of Discipline. I felt it important to share that in worship.
I shared a portion of that in worship today. You can find the whole paragraph (161.K in the 2016 Book of Discipline) here. The part I quoted today is as follows:
The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born. Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.
But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers.
I would encourage you to read the whole statement. In some ways there is something for everyone to dislike. It is not a statement supporting abortion for any reason, nor is it a statement that bans all abortions. Instead, in my opinion, this statement speaks to responsible and legal reproductive health services for women in crisis. I have always felt this statement to be well thought out, caring and compassionate.
While the first part of my sermon share this statement, it also pointed out that we are so divided that we no longer listen to one another and use our bias and self righteousness as a weapon. You can find the whole service here on Facebook, or through our Youtube page.
Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is deep and rich. I find his words challenging and hopeful. His challenge to work toward the goal: ” press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” As beloved of God, I am called to live out the grace and love given me in Christ Jesus. I pray in the midst of these troubled times to do so.