Togetherness: Whose side are you on?

by | Apr 19, 2020

There is a lot of togetherness going on as we all try our best to stay home and stay with whoever is under the same roof. Each day we gain a little more experience with the limitations of FaceTime and online meeting technology.

Meanwhile, political posturing and soundbites continue to pollute the airwaves, but with some new twists.

I feel blessed that the persons living in the same house as me mostly agree. And that we try to respect each other’s viewpoint on the issues that could divide us. But each day brings its own challenges, its own rumors, and a lot of the same as yesterday.

Pastor Jeremy of Court Street Church plans to carry on a conversation with his faith community about grace. Not the grace that describes how people move, but the grace that causes us to cut some slack, even for people who don’t deserve it. As I read his reflections on this topic, I was amazed by the relevance of the subject matter to our new series. Grace is a condiment that needs to be on every table for every meal. And in every household.

In fact, grace is an essential ingredient for all human endeavors. Grace is particularly crucial when it comes to determining policy that affects a large number of people. We expect leaders to be superheroes, or at least we hope they can be. But this may be more true if the leader is someone we admire. Yet we all should hope that God extends grace to us.

Jesus was silenced by people in power with a vested interest in keeping His story from becoming headlines

Jesus has His hands full when it comes to teaching followers a new way to see other people. On one occasion, John, one of HIs first followers, was bragging about shutting down a group that was helping others. The problem, according to John, wasn’t the good they were doing, but the use of Jesus’ name as a source of authority. “He’s not one of us,” John added.

I’m guessing that John anticipated that Jesus would thank him for his outspokenness. But instead, Jesus told John that what he did was wrong. “Don’t try to stop him,” Jesus responded, “whoever is not against you is for you.” An interesting choice of words with several options for interpretation. This is where the subject of grace is helpful.

Grace is not something we earn. It is more like the opposite. We give and receive grace without merit. Whether the other person clearly deserves the slack, we offer them, or they clearly don’t. We extend grace either way. Earning grace is not a part of the conversation. It just comes with the way we respond to the world. And if we aren’t sure we want to offer grace, we remember the grace that we receive from God.

We begin our new series this Sunday, Risen. And our series is not about grace per se. Our plan is to promote conversations about inequality. Particularly, disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Conversations that can divide us, if grace isn’t present at all times. So this Sunday, we begin by talking about grace, and about what it means to work together.

I have my own political views that come out of my sculpting and experiences. And my sculpting influences how I see the world. The same is true for each of you. Some say that politics shouldn’t come into the church. I see their point. But I also realize that politics goes wherever people go. So if I want you all to get involved in church, I can’t ask you to leave your politics at the door. Particularly during a time when you aren’t coming through a door. A couple of clicks, or dial a number, and you’re in church.

And I presume that we are all clinging to whatever helpful news we can find that may help us get through this crisis. And the news about inequities based on race and economics is heartbreaking. On the other hand, the polluted air that usually hangs over Los Angelos is dispersed. A reminder of what is possible for our planet. If we can work together.

Politics goes wherever people go…

My hope is that each week we can hear from individuals who took the time to research topics that matter to them. Perhaps policy influencers and people personally affected by inequity. I’m looking for you all to do the recommending and inviting.

We are all in this together, even when we aren’t actually together — physically or ideologically. But we can work together making our community and our world a better place. Don’t let political posturing keep you from offering and receiving the grace that God offers every one of us. And if the news is causing you heartburn, turn it off for a while.

Togetherness: Whose side are you on?I invited several persons to respond to a survey on potential topics. A few responded already. If you didn’t get your invite please go to RisenSurvey now and take our survey. This will really help us figure out which topics are important to our participants and who is willing to do and share their research.

For more information this series, Risen, see the article, Coming up in worship.

I invite you to join us this Sunday. We plan to be live via webinar, through Facebook live, or you can call (929) 436-2866 and enter the meeting number — 324 841 204. We go live at 10:30 am. You can find these links along with more information about us on our website at

A reminder that we publish this newsletter that we call the Circuit Rider each week. You can request this publication by email. Send a request to or let us know when you send a message through our website. We post an archive of past editions on our website under the tab, Connect – choose Newsletters.

Pastor Tommy

A Community in Love with God, Each Other, and our Neighbors.