To preach biblically is to preach prophetically. Loving God and following Jesus who calls us to love our neighbor is a reminder for me that no flag of any country flies higher than the cross.
“Learn to do right! Encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” -Isaiah 1:17
The evangelical witness of the Methodist Movement has in every age “sought to exercise their responsibility for the moral and spiritual quality of society.” We try as best we can to allow our witness to flow from our commitment to be the Church as an instrument of God’s grace.
As our clergy enter the ministry, they are asked if they know our general rules and intend to follow them. Doing no harm, doing good of every possible sort, and by attending upon all ordinances of God (Staying in love with God.)
“Our historic opposition to evils such as smuggling, inhumane prison conditions, slavery, drunkenness, and child labor was founded upon a vivid sense of God’s wrath against human injustice and wastage.” (United Methodist Book of Discipline, General Rules and Social Principles)
Long before I was born into the Methodist Church, the struggle for human dignity and social reform was championed by women and men who believed that Jesus, himself; demonstrated love, mercy, and justice.
I have been richly blessed by pastors and laypeople who taught me that people of all nations, races, religions, and cultures are to be respected and find a welcome in our church and community.
The recent presidential executive order restricting travel and immigration to the United States by residents of seven countries has created great angst and stress for immigrants, refugees, workers and international students who currently live in the United States.
Many of our schools including our United Methodist-related institutions house and educate students, as well as provide teaching space for faculty from the impacted countries and realize that refusing to accept immigrants out of fear is simply unjust.
We who embrace the best of the Wesleyan tradition of scriptural and social holiness must not push the mute button on our prophetic witness of teaching and preaching.
The prophetic voice from biblical teaching results in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable in ways that call us to rise to our highest Christ-like potential.
Millions of people are on the move across the globe due to war, violence, poverty, and pain. Our nation has historically extended a welcome to immigrants and refugees seeking safety and opportunity for education and work.
We who are called to be people of prayer and action can stand with those who seek safety and fair treatment.
We can ask President Trump and our other elected officials to pursue a more inclusive way of promoting the welfare of the nation and the common good for our society. Heavy-handed national security measures must not overshadow our faith in the beauty of diversity and justice for all.
Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church
United Methodist Immigration Task Force
United Methodist Immigration Resources
The United Methodist Church's Social Principles include this statement: "We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care, education, and freedom from social discrimination. We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.”
The denomination has resources available for churches, pastors, and laypeople looking to support comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. More information is available here.