Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A FLAG AND A WALL

The terrible tragedy in Charleston has brought up again the debate about the Confederate flag. If I remember rightly, it was Governor Beasley who worked on a way to get the flag down off the Capital dome and I think it lost him the next election. Congratulations to Gov. Haley for stepping forward, into the fray, to call for the flag to be put in a museum. I know you’ve heard all the arguments for and against, but allow me a few words as a pastor. I was at Clemson UMC when it was discussed during Beasely’s reign. I remember that the lectionary text that Sunday was from Ephesians 2: 11ff. This passage talks about Jesus as our Peace who has broken down the “dividing wall of hostility”. Jews and Christians would have known that this the wall in the temple which was acted out in their lives. It was about Jew and Gentile being brought together in Christ in the same church. Christ is a wall-breaker. I used the poem from Robert Frost called Mending Wall. It says: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall…that’s wants it down. The poem is about a wall between two neighbor’s houses made of stones. Each year, the weather works on it and it has to be repaired. There is something in creation that doesn’t love walls. I paraphrased it: Someone there is that doesn’t love a wall; that wants it down. In my sermon at Clemson I talked about the Confederate flag debate and said that one day it would come down because Christ doesn’t like walls. And, it did come down, and it will be brought down and put in a museum. Theologically, I have to say that God doesn’t love walls, walls that separate and divide. Walls that stand between neighbors, friends, families. Wow! It just all seems to go that way, if we pay attention. And we needlessly, put up walls because Jesus Christ, our Lord, is a wall-breaker. If we worship Jesus, it’s hard to justify anything that separates us from one another. End of Sermon. So what if it doesn’t bother you. It bothers Jesus, and it bothers those who feel excluded from a country and a state that is theirs too. I am grateful to all of those who are stepping out to remove the flag and put it in a museum. There’s something important at stake here: the integrity and respect for all God’s children. Someone there is who doesn’t love a wall. I think you know who that is. Everything, I tell you, leans toward God’s great creation of a new world, a new creation, if you will, where all are valued and loved. God must surely love diversity; he made a lot of it. Blessings! Dave Nichols

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Welcome

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
Blessings!
Dave

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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