Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lent & Christlife

Christianity is a force in the world today because of the force which exploded the stone from the tomb of a crucified prophet 2000 years ago.  Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead and will come again. No greater proof of the identity of Jesus, the intervention of God in the affairs of  people, and the hope of eternal life can be offered than the resurrection of Jesus.  Proclaim this good news!

Free Methodists understand the significance of Easter, but what of Lent?

The 40 day season of fasting and self-denial which precedes Easter is part of the “Christian Calendar” or “Liturgical Calendar”. Beginning with Advent and Christmas and working through the year into Lent and Easter culminating in Pentecost, this way of reckoning time has a purpose.  The Christian calendar is designed to focus our hearts and minds on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and to annually retell and relive the story of Messiah.  Lent is one way in which we seek to pattern our lives after the life of Jesus

Thursday, March 15, 2012

End Slavery

John Wesley’s last written letter was to abolitionist William Wilberforce in an appeal to end slavery in their day:

“Unless the divine power has raised you to be as Athanasius contra mundum [arrayed against the world], I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be fore you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.” (2/24/1791)
Many early Methodists held this to be a sacred calling, and the first American Methodist leaders approached none other than George Washington in an appeal to end the practice as the new America was being forged. They were ignored.  Not long after, Methodists began to compromise their position against slavery.  Free Methodists did not compromise on slavery and were forged in the flame of the abolitionist debates which tore America apart in Civil War, and rebirthed a more just, albeit far from perfect, nation.

Will you, North Central Conference Free Methodists, take up the charge against the monolith of human trafficking – slavery – in our time?  Can we do no less than our forefathers? Can we stand by while more than 20 million people are enslaved (more than any other time in history according to the US State Department).  More than half are children, 80% are women, with sex-trafficking the chief driver and debt bondage keeps whole families enslaved for multiple generations. 

Please, observe Freedom Sunday (February 26). We have encouraged all NCC churches to register for this at Our Bishops encourage every church to take an offering for our abolition movement.  Offerings may be sent to the NCC office designated “Freedom Sunday” and will be used by the FMC to fund International Child Care Ministries intervention work in India, build our abolition leadership team, invest in extra mile projects against human trafficking and support Not for Sale, our strategic partner in the effort to end slavery in our time.