RIVERSIDE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Together in Love and Faith

Bishop Trimble Message

 

 

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters  God said, "Let there be light." And so light appeared. God saw how good the light was. God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light Day and the darkness Night. There was evening and there was morning: the first day.”  Genesis 1:1-5 (CEB)

“Then God said, "Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth." Genesis 1:26 (CEB)

Brothers and Sisters, 

Throughout this summer I have connected with family and neighbors in ways that have made my heart sing. I have heard sermons from pastors serving our churches, as well as reports from our Conference Superintendents regarding the transition of pastors and the clear and compelling message of the Gospel being preached. 

In this season, I am leaning in” as a leader, and I count it as a joy to do so with you. In the past 45 days, I have traveled to Minneapolis, MN, and Charleston, SC to attend family reunions. While these travels have brought joy and refreshment to my soul, I cannot ignore the fact that both of these world-class cities have experienced heightened racial tensions due to police shootings of black men and strained police/community relations. 

And let us not forget the atrocity of the Charleston church massacre where nine members of Emmanuel AME Church (also known as Mother Emmanuel) were shot and killed by self-avowed white supremacist Dylan Roof, during a bible study held June 17, 2015. I also invite us to be in prayer for the events happening in Charleston just today. 

During our time in South Carolina, we toured the McLeod Plantation. The tour highlighted many stories of wealth development from sea cotton and the African slave trade. Our history in North America is both complex and compelling with stories of brown and black people often distorted or buried under the historical and socioeconomic realities of white privilege. 

For me, the recent visit to this beautiful plantation was a vivid reminder of the blood, sweat, and tears that are the backdrop of our history. We all stand on the shoulders of men and women who came before us. Immigrants and slaves, oppressors and the oppressed; the diversity of humanity — each of us with stories worthy of consideration as we resist the temptation to equate differences with deficiency.

Beloved of Indiana, we have a major problem that we must address: As John Wesley proclaimed and recorded, the practice of the Holy life and the transformation of society means that inward holiness must manifest in outward holiness.

Outward holiness is more than works of mercy and acts of kindness. The love of God we received is the essence of Christianity. Wesley believed that Love was, “the never failing remedy for all the evils of a disordered world, for all the miseries and vices of the human race” (sermon on Laying the Foundation of New Chapel, 1777).

Created in the image of God, we are to live in harmony with both God and our neighbors. I believe that we are living below our God-given potential when we fail to acknowledge and oppose the presence of white supremacist rhetoric and groups. 

We also fail to live up to our Kingdom potential when we embrace, without critique, an “America First“ rhetoric and worldview. 

We must ask ourselves, “What do you hear when our President says ‘Make America Great Again.'?

When was the United States of America at its greatest?

While we can acknowledge that there is a civility problem that exists in the White House we must also recognize that there is a civility problem in the Church. Currently, I am reading Christine Porath’s book, Mastering Civility. In the book, she reminds readers, “that if you are excessively focused on yourself, you're going to be that much less concerned about the effects of your behavior on others.”

In a 2016 Civility in America survey, 95 percent of respondents believed we have a civility problem in America, 70 percent believed incivility has reached crisis proportions. I believe that incivility continues to rise from both ignorance and malice.

I also believe that we have a responsibility, beginning today, by promoting a commitment to Christian civility demonstrated through positive gestures and a consistent communication of respect, dignity, courtesy, and kindness that lifts up instead of tears down. 

As a bishop of The United Methodist Church, I call on all leaders (lay and clergy) to speak out against injustice, to name inequality, and to tackle our incivility head on through preaching, teaching, acts of kindness, and by offering light and hope to the world. 

We are called to prophetically embody the goodness and selflessness of Christ and strive to become the change we wish to see across the world.

As United Methodists, we are called to be leaders in our homes, workplaces, communities, and especially our churches. To do this we need to remind ourselves of the Lord’s Prayer, our Wesleyan heritage, and the Gospel message to Do JusticeLove Mercy, and Walk Humbly with our God who sees us all and can teach us to live without fear of our neighbors.

The Gospel message is LOVE. Love unites and strengthens us all to be who we were created to be.

My prayer is that we will engage in prayer, critical community-building conversations and activities, relationship building, and on occasion, protest against those things antithetical to the Gospel of Love. And I pray that we will be shaped by God’s Heart. 

 Be encouraged, 

Bishop Julius C. Trimble 

 

Reflections on the Minister’s March for Justice


Bishop Julius C. Trimble with Susan Henry-Crowe,the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, and Bishop Marcus Matthews, the current Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops 

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?

    Micah 6:8 (NRSV)

Today I've joined ministry colleagues and other faith leaders in Washington, D.C. to march with ministers branching from an array of denominations to seek justice for all God’s people. 

Our reason for marching is partly due to our current and constant struggle as a nation to achieve equality for all people across our nation. Recent actions by our government have instilled fear and a loss of hope as decisions have seemingly turned back progress made to insure the rights of all voters, police and community relations, the end of racial profiling, and the welcoming of immigrants. 

To be clear, President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or the current administration are not the sole reasons we march today. 

The Ministers March for Justice is about the future we hope to shape for generations to come. 

As my friend reminded me, when we were children watching with hopeful eyes as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in resounding confidence, delivered the Have a Dream speech; We march in the name of civility, dignity, and love. 

We march so that the vision of a beloved community where the ‘common good’ and respect for all God's children and creation is not sacrificed on the alter of idolatrous nationalism and fear pandering.

We march in the names of those who stood in the face of injustice and endured extensive slander, abuse, degradation, oppression, and mustered the strength to stand taller and remained devout in their prayers and resilient in their hope for a brighter future.

As a United Methodist, I march because I believe we need to “work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened,” as mentioned in our Social Principles. 

I march because together, we are more. 

Be encouraged

Bishop Julius C. Trimble

Brothers and Sisters, 

I was raised to believe that prayer is always in order, especially in times of disaster. 

As reports continue to come in, Tropical Storm Harvey is causing record rainfall and flooding in Houston and other parts of Texas resulting in loss of life, property, and for some, hope. 

I invite us to join in a moment of intentional prayer and ask that God, who is love and a stronghold in the times of troublebe with the people who have been impacted by this catastrophic event, those currently in harms way, and the on-duty responders and agencies that are on scene providing assistance in any way they can. 

My colleague, Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference offers this prayer.

Let us be reminded of Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (NRSV) 

The Indiana Conference will share this week more ways we in Indiana can be supportive of the current emergency needs and long term recovery.

For the time being, The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is providing real-time information on how The United Methodist Church is responding to Tropical Storm Harvey, as well as a link to donate to the UMCOR Disaster Relief Grant Fund - ADVANCE #901670

Bishop Julius C. Trimble 
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church 

How you can help now:

Hygiene kits and cleaning buckets are being collected at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis, Door 6, during normal business hours. The goal is to collect as many useful resources as possible by Monday, September 11. St. Luke’s UMC will coordinate with UMCOR Sager Brown depot and the Midwest Distribution Center (MMDC) for pick up detail.

Learn how to assemble Hygiene Kits

Learn how to assemble Cleaning Buckets