February 3, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
When we act out of prejudicial feelings towards others, that is discrimination. When that discrimination is held collectively by a social group and backed by legal or institutional power, it is systemic discrimination. This is a situation James was dealing with in James 2:1-13. If the social group's discrimination is defined by race, then it becomes racism, and this is a big problem in the history of the United States, including our churches. So how can we reverse this systemic racism? We see how the early church had to deal with it already in Acts 6 when the apostles chose Grecian Jews to oversee the the distribution of food to all the widows in the church. To reverse systemic racism as we know it in this country and in our churches, we first have to understand what it is, then work to develop genuine empathy towards people of color, and then also be willing to engage them into our lives.
January 27, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Any conversation about the Sanctity of Life should also include our need to love the alien. An alien is simply anyone who is a stranger or foreigner from some other place, and there should be no judgment for that. Instead, our response should be love. We treat the alien well; we even provide for them because God loves them so and that is what He would do. In fact, God wants to use us to show His love to the alien. We should love them to demonstrate our own love for God and for all He has made, and also because we too have been aliens. If you have not experienced the struggles of being an alien, like so many people have, then make it your goal to understand what it is like to suffer as an alien and then embrace the aliens and provide ways for them to flourish.
January 20, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
A commitment to Sanctity of Life has to include life on all the edges including the unborn child, the disabled person, and the elderly. The Bible teaches us in Psalm 139 that God put us together wonderfully, even in the womb. We also know from Luke 14 that Jesus was preferential to the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. And Zechariah 8 teaches us that God wants the elderly, those of ripe old age, to be included in the life of all the community. The important thing for all of us is that we celebrate all of life, and we celebrate it together, including everyone as the wonderfully loved and beautifully created people that they are!
January 13, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
The Bible teaches us right from the beginning, in the creation of Adam and Eve, that we were made in the image of God. We see the implications of this in their relationships with God, with each other, and with all creation. But after the Fall, that imaging of God was tainted. If we look at Jesus and know that He is the truest image of God then we have to see that in order for us to best image God it has to be about love -- how we love God, how we love all mankind, and how we love creation. Colossians 3:10 teaches us that as people who have been raised with Christ, we have to now put on a new self and be renewed in our image of God. How then are we doing at this thing called love and how is that seen in our relationships with God, with all people, and with God's creation?
January 6, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
What better place to start talking about the sanctity of life than the place where all life as we know it began, at God's creation of the universe and of this special place we call earth? Earth is like no other place in the universe in the way in which it was created to sustain all kinds of life. And it is the one place that God gave a role to His greatest creation, mankind, to fill, subdue, rule, work and care for His marvelous creation. We were tasked with being God's stewards of this earth from the very beginning, and that remains true for us today. So let's not take lightly the findings of the scientific community which point us to the destructive problems facing this earth, such as climate change, loss of species, and plastic pollution. How we, as God's people, caring for creation today?