Sowing Seeds of Justice

This reflection was first published on March 13, 2014.

I was born into and raised in the United Methodist Church.  Some part of me will always be Methodist because the best parts of Methodism in my life are Universalist and Unitarian.  That is, they affirm the interconnected web of all existence and that everyone is always included in the divine working in the world.  I learned that in Methodism.  I live it out as a Unitarian Universalist.  Those seeds were planted in me long ago in Sunday School Classes, in Communion services, in Revivals, and in the almost endless poetry of Wesleyan hymnody.

My Church of birth is going through some dark days as it is sorely divided over the issue of affirming marriage equality.  Methodist clergy are being taken to trial for officiating at the marriages (legal in their States) of gay and lesbian couples.  Methodist clergy are being de-frocked for doing so.

Today, a new seed is being sown.  The Bishop of New York, Bishop Martin McLee, has dropped charges against a minister in his Conference and declared that he will not bring charges against any other minister who officiates at the weddings of gay and lesbian couples.  As he does so, he urges his fellow Bishops to follow his lead and refrain from engaging in this violence against those who stand in the way of Compassion and Justice.

This is sowing.  This is sowing seeds of justice.  This is risk taking on the behalf of the oppressed, in the face of the crowd, for the benefit of all.  This kind of seed sowing brings relief to the suffering of the past, paves the way for present good work, and sets the vision for the future.

Seeds are often very little tiny things, but seed sowing is no little thing.  Seed sowing changes the landscape of the past, the setting of the present and the way the future will appear.

What seeds are you sowing today?  Others very much depend on it.

Bob Patrick

Nine years later the events described here are being played out with a world wide split in the UMC. Those leaving the UMC to start a new church have rejected full acceptance of LGBTQ people, and those remaining in the UMC are becoming a Reconciling community of full welcome. The Seeds of Justice have taken root and are growing into a new future.

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2 Responses to Sowing Seeds of Justice

  1. Peggy A says:

    Thank you, Bob, for giving me the history of this division within Methodists. I thought those starting a new church were the ones who wanted to accept everyone, not those who were against it.

  2. katrina yurko says:

    A Friend of mine attends Norcross UMC. She said they had a vote last Sunday re: Global or United… 1500 members….223 showed up to vote. ! 10 votes to accept LGBTQ +, all others split off. The actual changes do not take place until January.

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