Reflection on Reconciling Ministries
By Pam Ryder
West L.A. Connections
There are many rules and commandments in the Bible but when I think about WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), my first thought was regarding this Bible verse.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment and a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 22:36 – 40
To me, when Jesus says “On these commandments hang all the Biblical law”, I think he means that we should remember these are the overarching intentions of all the rules and commandments in scripture.
According to the scriptures, Jesus calls us to love our neighbor. He didn’t say love your family and friends. I think he wanted to make a point that our neighbor may be very different from us, act differently and think differently. A neighbor is a stranger that we are called to love and welcome.
Our neighbor may be a person who is a bigot, a sinner or an alcoholic. A neighbor may be poor and homeless or rich and haughty, a person who keeps the Sabbath or does not, a person who follows the Kosher laws or someone who does not keep Kosher, a Jew, a Gentile or a Muslim.
I believe God and Jesus call us to welcome all to His place of worship.
I look forward to being a part of a United Methodist Church community that reaffirms this love and welcome to all, as a reconciling church.
Originally printed in the West L.A. Connections – a monthly publication of the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church, May 2015.
Pam Ryder is a member of the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church (WLAUMC). WLAUMC is currently moving through the Reconciling Congregation discernment process.