We have rejected our sisters and brothers in Christ — in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. We have striven with one another in unfruitful, even destructive ways. There is frequently desolation in the land of Presbyterians whenever and wherever we gather with other kith and kin beyond the safe boundaries of our congregations.
God is offering Godís people a moment of respite in the events just concluding — the defeat of Amendment A and the churchís strong reaffirmation of its historic teaching on human sexuality in the third churchwide vote in the past five years.
There need be no winners and losers. Winning and losing is an attitude of mind, drawn from the culture in which we live, that glories in triumph and despairs in the face of defeat.
God, in Godís providence, has given his beloved Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) some breathing space — several years of breathing space as the whole church continues its dialogue on disputed matters in a civil and Christ-like way through the Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church. Until the work of that group is completed and a report brought forward, there is no need for further actions to change the churchís Constitution.
Neither is there any need for the conflict raging in the governing bodies to be translated into the judicial system of the church. There are issues to be decided by the courts, there are things that are not clear that need to be clarified, but this season of judicial activity need not continue the longstanding war in another arena by other means.
The choice is ours: Will we take the moment God has given back to lower our voices, reconsider our own positions, search our souls for our own sinful thoughts and deeds and repent of them? Will we lower the temperature, strive to carry on dialogue at a lower level, where we live and work, as friends, not enemies? Will we tentatively begin thinking about the mission of the whole church again: What it is that God is calling us, uniquely to do, through our many avenues of action? How we can maximize the witness to Jesus Christ in the new century in concert with others of good will?
The choice is ours: Choose life, my friends, not death. This is our moment of opportunity. God is speaking tenderly to us all. Will we listen — and respond — in faithful obedience?
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