A Moment for Mission
“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:1, NRSV
Today United Methodists joins others in recognizing World AIDS Day. Our denomination works with world-spanning organizations to teach and promote nondiscrimination in society.
“Every Christmas, I have to decide whether to commit suicide or not,” a young Asian Christian told the Rev. Donald E. Messer, a United Methodist theologian. His heart broke for the gay man. As an advocate for an HIV/AIDS-free world, Messer asked, “Why would anyone want to die at Christmas, a time of love, gift giving, family celebrations and festivals? Christmas is the best time of year, except if you are rejected by your family, your church and those persons you most treasure in the world.”
Around the world, United Methodists and other people of faith struggle with the divisive issues of sexuality and sexual health.
“If the church is to be the church of Jesus Christ it must … become an inclusive community of love and justice,” Messer said. “If the church is to be a positive force in creating an AIDS-free world, we must commit to eradicating stigma and championing human rights for all God’s people.”
United Methodists work through the General boards of Church and Society and Global Ministries, to mobilize people to care more than fear. The World Service Fund, the financial lifeline to extensive United Methodist mission and ministry, supports the holy message, “Everyone should be treated as a child of God.”
Loving God, it is a new month and a new beginning. We also need a new mindset. Help us do as we proclaim. Open our minds, our hearts and our doors to ALL children of God. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday of Advent - Holy God, you are the only One who can purify us and make us whole. Through the righteousness of Christ, you restore us. We trust that you are working in our hearts and minds to renew us by the power of your Holy Spirit. As we present our offerings, we ask that our efforts may be pleasing in your sight. By your grace, bring forth a harvest of righteousness in our lives and our communities. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Malachi 3:1-4, Philippians 1:3-11)
Efforts to help people understand and prevent AIDS and HIV have made major strides; however, the stigma associated with the disease continues. People living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are often thought of as modern-day lepers. Christ’s ministry with and to the lepers models courage and compassion to churches struggling to reach out to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Sunday is World AIDS Day. What can we do to educate fearful individuals and change the church’s attitude about this global epidemic? How can we refocus our attention on the spiritual, not sexual, orientation of others? Need we ask again, “What would Jesus do?”
Your church’s support of the World Service Fund helps the General boards of Church and Society and Global Ministries activate programs to remove barriers threatening human lives and human rights. This Sunday, come to worship with an open mind, willing to grow in faith beyond assumption, prejudice and judgment. Join The United Methodist church as we fearlessly champion the rights of all human beings.