Dear Members and Friends,
It has been a difficult few weeks. First Louisiana, then Minnesota, and then Dallas.
The President spoke at the memorial service in Dallas Tuesday for the five police officers killed in the line of duty. We watched, as I hope you did as well. His words were carefully chosen; he spoke from the heart to our hearts. He quoted the Bible three times.
After he was done, my wife Kay said to me, "He's a good pastor." I agree. What is a good pastor and in what way was he pastoral to the nation today?
First, I believe he spoke with compassion to both the hundreds of police officers in attendance. He also spoke with compassion to other Americans who feel under attack. A good pastor, and all in the congregation, should have compassion for people on both sides of the trauma that we have been going through.
Next, a pastor should, as best they are able, speak the truth in love. It's easier to skirt the issues, obfuscate, offer pious platitudes. A good pastor should not mince words but speak the truth in love.
Next, a good pastor should lift us to be 'our better selves'. There should be hope proclaimed, that together we can be, and are, better than this.
These three things are enough for today and for our little church. We can speak with compassion for all who might otherwise be considered the enemy. We can speak the truth as we see it, but only when we are ready to listen to another person's truth. We can lift all citizens to a higher level of hope and trust.
I appreciate your words of encouragement to be a better pastor. And I encourage you, now, to join with me in that same spirit as we minister to each other, to the community, and to the wider world.