During the Civil War, a man asked President Lincoln if he thought God was on the Union’s side, and Lincoln replied, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side…”
Lincoln’s statement rings in my head frequently, especially when I find that a prayer or hope has political ramifications. Or when my prayer or hope is on the losing side, when an issue that seems so obvious to me doesn’t stand a chance. Or when the crucial prayer or hope is buried under the news sensation of the hour. Or when I forget to pray and start to lose hope.
Trying to be on God’s side reminds me of the deeper call, of my need to pay attention to who God is – in scripture, in my tradition, in my community and church and conscience. Paying attention to God, rather than to popular opinion – although the two are not necessarily contradictory – means that my hope does not rest on the turn of events but on God being God. Trying to be on God’s side means I have to trust that God will show up, somehow, even when all seems lost.
This Sunday at Western, we celebrate World Communion Sunday. World communion – coming together as one – is a reality we trust is on God’s side, yet is awfully hard to see. John Molina-Moore and I are preaching together as we look at the hope for reconciliation, not because it exists now in our world, or because we believe that we can end all that divides us, but because we trust reconciliation is a gift of God in Christ, a prayer and a hope that we can live together. We hope to see you as we celebrate the gift, for Western and for all of us.
Peace of Christ be with you,