Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
Mine is the Church where everybody’s welcome.
We had to install a new sign by the entrance of the meadow. The meadow is an outdoor classroom used primarily by the Trinity Preschool. It served a critical need during the pandemic and has become a treasured part of our campus. The new addition at the very entrance of the meadow is a no trespassing sign. The sheriff’s office encouraged us to post this sign. We have had some problems with people camping out in the meadow, smoking, drinking, or sleeping in this place where children gather.
The new “No trespassing” sign joins the “No overnight parking” signs that have been up for years. It is necessary to police our campus for the safety and security of staff and visitors. Cars are towed, the Sheriff is called, people are asked to leave a place where everybody’s welcome.
Mine is the church where everybody’s welcome. No trespassing. How do we make sense of these seemingly contradictory statements?
The place where we worship is called the sanctuary. A wildlife sanctuary is a place where animals can gather without concern for their safety.
Our worship space and our campus must also be a sanctuary, a place of peace, that welcomes all for rest, and reflection. In a fallen world, that requires a measure of security. Security which sometimes demands the posting of signs, the removal of cars or individuals. It seems incongruous, and perhaps it is.
Ethics in a fallen world are very complicated. We are stewards of creation. We are environmentalists, we care for Whidbey Island, the waters of the Puget Sound, the majestic forests, tiny animals, and soaring mountains. We recycle and yet we live in homes that are far too big, we drive our cars too often and a single unnecessary airline flight does more harm than recycling does good.
Ethics in a fallen world are very complicated. God offers us forgiveness and the Bible tells us very clearly that we must forgive others and yet there are unescapable consequences for our actions. Some people need to go to jail, some children need to be grounded, there is a time when the car keys should be taken from us, even with forgiveness divorce is sometimes necessary.
Sexual ethics, biomedical ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, economic ethics, environmental ethics.
Should we help the poor? Yes.
Does the church have no trespassing signs? Yes.
Should we help the homeless? Yes.
Do you want the Harbor Inn to be a homeless shelter?
Ethical discussions are important. Our ethical values will inform our behavior. The choices we make will have an impact on our lives and leave footprints for generations to come.
Ethical discussions are of great value, we should not go through life with our head buried in the sand. But in every discussion and deliberation, I would encourage you to embrace humility. None of us have this all figured out.
Mine is the church where everybody’s welcome! No trespassing! As incongruous as those statements are, they are both true.
One day closer,