Three years ago this month I was blessed to go to El Salvador with a group of students and faculty member Dr. Hal Recinos from Perkins School of Theology. We studied Archbishop Oscar Romero and the history of El Salvador in preparation for our immersion experience.
I never fully understood the line from Genesis, until that time. After Cain kills his brother Abel, God asks Cain where his brother is. Cain replies, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" God replies to Cain, "What have you done? Listen, your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!" In El Mazote', El Salvador where every person in the village, except one, was massacred - women, children, men, infants, all murdered. I felt the blood of my brothers and sisters crying out from the ground. It was an overwhelming experience.
Likewise, in these days post General Conference 2019, I hear the anguish of my brothers and sisters crying up from the ground. The calls, e-mails, texts and personal conversations are almost overwhelming. "What will happen to the Church?!" "What will happen to my LGBTQ child, niece, nephew, friend, cousin, parent, uncle, aunt?!" "Are they unwelcome?" The voices cry out. "Is the United Methodist Church, Un-United?!"
Dr. Joretta Marshall, who will be at St. Barnabas on April 7th, wrote to me this evening and inquired about our congregation and about me. I heard her words as, "How is it with your soul?" My response is fairly simple. I am exceedingly thankful for both the training and the experience I have that have brought me to this place and time in ministry. If I can simply be midwife to whatever the next phase of our life together brings, then my ministry will not have been in vain.
God is with us dear friends! God is with us ALL! Our brokenness is the great, common denominator we all share - every one of us. That, and we are loved by God - who loves us ALL! Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
The communion table at St. Barnabas has been and will continue to be an open table - where all are welcome; where Christ is host; where Christ invites us to bring our brokenness, to cry out, and to hear the cries of our brothers and sisters. You are invited. The table is prepared. Come.