It stings – as both a pastor and a native of NC – to have another story about a North Carolina pastor who has said some outrageous things. A protest is planned at his church tomorrow – Pentecost Sunday. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the congregation and their pastor as well as the protesters who will join them in Maiden, NC.
My fear is that people who disagree with the Rev. Worley will react with vengeance and the same kind of divisiveness that he preaches. Rev. Mark Sandlin offers one good idea for fighting Worley’s words in a positive way. But, nevertheless, I’d like to remove the wickedness from his “wickedly beautiful response” and offer merely a beautiful response.
Between 1000 and 2000 protesters are expected to meet at 9am at the Maiden Elementary School to march over to the Providence Road Baptist Church on Pentecost morning, and my hope is that they will resemble Jesus more than Rev. Worley. I would love for them to sing hymns (“We are Singing for the Lord is our Light“) and offer hospitality. Imagine joyous people worshiping outside the church walls – as well as inside the church walls – and the “outsiders” are sharing lemonade, coffee, and prayers to those with whom they disagree. It wouldn’t be easy to offer authentic hospitality but I believe this is part of what Jesus means when he calls us to carry our own crosses. Loving our enemies is what God commands.
It won’t help for the Christians outside the walls to match the venom of those inside the walls. Worley’s words are so offensive and ugly. But please don’t match ugly for ugly.
Blessings on all who will gather in Maiden Sunday morning. I pray you will express yourselves in the likeness of Christ.