Listening over the last several weeks to the different voices in our communities and across our nation, I have heard many expressions of fear and pain. Recent grand jury decisions highlight the fear and pain of many of our African-American brothers and sisters concerning the criminal justice system. Likewise, there is fear and pain in the Anglo community. And there is fear among families who have members serving as police. Fear seems to be the dominant emotion.
Soon we will celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. The appearance of the angel to the shepherds to announce His birth initially elicited fear among the shepherds. But the angel of the Lord said, “Do not be afraid; for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born in the city of David, a Savior.” (Luke 2:10-11) That Savior would be the embodiment of God’s perfect love. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (I John 4:18)
As United Methodists in North Texas celebrate the birth of Christ and begin a new year, may we be and act as the people of the Christ who seek to be ones who love in a way that begins to cast out fear.
Some clergy in the North Texas Conference have begun working together to seek ways in which the fear of many can be cast out. That work is challenging, but together we can build trust among all God’s children. Together, we can address the high rates of incarceration in communities of color. Together, we can create communities where fear no longer dominates how people live or how we see each other.
The coming of a Savior two thousand years ago was God’s declaration that all lives matter. I pray that the Methodist people celebrate God’s gift of a Savior by living and working for that truth #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter. May we see as God sees… each person as a beloved child of God.
May you have a blessed Christmas.
Bishop Michael McKee
North Texas Annual Conference