Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley, a Methodist minister, and gospel music composer wrote in one of his most notable hymns, which is featured in our United Methodist Hymnal, “When the storms of life are raging stand by me."
As the world looks to offer thoughts, prayers for safety and healing; as well as to provide support for all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and those in the path of Hurricane Irma across the Caribbean, Florida, South Carolina, I give great thanks for the outpouring of love and support through prayers. I am also called to remember that we are each counted in the number. Yes, we must all remember that when one suffers, we all suffer as we remain connected in oneness.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of engaging with leaders from across the Conference at the Bishop's Multiplication Summit at Castleton United Methodist Church. During our time together Pastor Sergio Reyes, who serves at Iglesia Christina Gethsemani in the Fort Wayne area, shared that there is a heightened sense of anxiety throughout the country, as many in our Hispanic/Latino communities are feeling vulnerable and troubled because of the current administration's recent comments and actions in regards to the suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which reignites the threat of deportation for nearly 800,000 people in the United States.
Where are we as the Church and as those who call ourselves Christians to our brothers and sisters who are suffering from the fear that they will face circumstances that will rip them away from the only lives they have ever known?
It has been said that the Church has the most stentorian voice when we respond to those who have been devastated by storms of natural disaster, but how do we respond to storms created by people from the fear of difference?
I invite you to join the millions around the world as we continue to pray for safety from the storms of life and may we be encouraged to serve as humanitarian advocates for our brothers and sisters to our elected officials, reminding them to serve all God's children. Together, we can find solutions that are compassionate and comprehensive in the aspects of many of the storms facing our world today.
As United Methodists, may we also be reminded that our Book of Disciplines' Social Principles has been consistently committed to welcoming immigrants to our churches, communities, and countries, as well as continues to commit to the principle that all people are of sacred worth in the kingdom of God.
The Council of Bishops has also extended a challenge to The United Methodist Church and every member to be a part of the conversations and solutions to the many people seeking refuge from the storm. Whether the storm is the threat of legal status, escape as a refugee from war torn places, ending the cycle of poverty, accessing affordable health care, availability of clean water, peril to sacred land, and more in the many places where United Methodists live across the world; we must stand together. We must be able to talk to one another and remain devotedly united as we face obstacles that are fueled by divisiveness and isolation.
I hope that every pastor, member, and church throughout Indiana will begin to have conversations that move us to action and unity with those in need and with each other. We cannot ignore our call, and we cannot sit by idly as others are swept away in the storm. Will you join me?
Storms are raging all around us and in nearly every community around the world. However, we are all called to stand together and not become untethered by any storm.
“O Lord, thou who rules the wind and water stand by me.”
Be encouraged because together we are more!
*Stand by Me - Charles A. Tindley, UM Hymnal, No. 512