I have found these past days profoundly unsettling. I imagine that, no matter where you stand politically, the same is true for you. After months of struggle and unrest, more chaos and lawlessness, and they have shaken us deeply as a nation. Even if born of desperation, violence is never the answer. It cancels good-will and sabotages hopes of dialogue. It divides. The divisions in our country have further been laid bare and deepened. Such divisions tear painfully at our hearts.
In the light of these events and prompted by the love that gathers us, I ask that we, at ASA, recommit to being peacemakers, to being and respecting seekers of truth, to judging no hearts but holding all accountable for actions, to promoting justice, to praying for healing and unity, to listening and to dialogue, to daring to hope, to loving our neighbor as our Lord loves us, because our Lord loves us. This is our mission. Will you join me in renewing this?
Let us pray:
God of ages, in your sight nations rise and fall and pass through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and to save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search for your will and see it clearly. In any ways we have turned from your way, help us to reverse them. Give us your light and your truth to guide us; through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen
At Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes, “we value the church as a community that welcomes all people, where viewpoint diversity is considered a blessing” (from our Statement of Particular Values).
What is the theological foundation that undergirds this value?
To begin, we understand that “Jesus’ ‘kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). And is consequently deepened in our understanding that,
“the course of action for Christians in the political sphere is not always obvious and may lead to different political perspectives among parishioners. We are certainly not removed from the world, as we are called to love ‘in truth and in action’ (I John 3:18).
We may have different understandings of how to ‘act justly’ (Micah 6:8), however, and thus, as a church, we choose to minister primarily in our immediate community and we pray that each parishioner go forth,
formed by our common faith and according to the dictates of individual conscience, to make the world a better place.”
(Statement of Particular Values)
Over the next two days, we will see fellow Americans gathered in our city to attend the “March to Save America”. I've been asked, "So how are we, as members and friends of ASA, to respond to this expression of free speech?"
First and foremost, we are to PRAY— Pray for peace. Pray to be peacemakers. And let us avoid making sweeping generalizations. As disciples of Christ, in conscience, let us resist the temptation to view those who think differently than us to be "the enemy".
As Congressman John Lewis (+2020) said, “Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.”
We must bear in mind that, as members of the American family, we are all fellow citizens that share the same right to expression, that is no different than any other secular organizations we may endorse. And we must bear in mind that, divinely speaking, these individuals may be fellow Christians, and perhaps even fellow parishioners; who, if they have a different political perspective, are no less our Sister(or Brother)-in-Christ than those who share our political perspectives.
I Remain Yours in Christ, the Prince of Peace,
The Rev. Dominique Peridans
Glad to be your Rector