Author

Melissa Rynders

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We live in a time and place where it can often be confusing to sort through all that is happening and figure out who is speaking truth, who knows what they are talking about, who understands the inner workings and minds of those who have gone before us. This is especially true right now as we go through the process of impeachment. Not only are we, as youth workers, often confused about what is happening, it can be difficult for our youth to understand what impeachment actually is, where we fall as Christians on the whole process, and what we can do to live out our faith in just ways.

This is an attempt to give some guidance for a discussion to have with youth around impeachment and faith. There are no answers, only places to explore more fully who we are and what we believe.

Ideally this would be a two week process, first week you go through the discussion with your youth. The second week, if possible, you have the youth lead the same discussion with their parents or guardians. If that is not possible, send home the questions and talking points with the youth so they can have the tools to have conversations with their family at home.

Faith, Justice and Impeachment Discussion Guide:

What is Impeachment?

Dictionary definition: The action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something.

In Politics: A charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office.

The Constitution: The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.US Constitution, Article II, Section 4

7 Steps of Impeachment: Click on the link at the bottom in Resources for a handout to walk through the impeachment process together.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What is your understanding of impeachment?
  • What did you learn about impeachment just now?

What does the UMC say about truth and justice?

Baptismal Vows:

When we are welcomed into the life of the church we hear these questions, they are the basis for our beliefs as United Methodists.

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject of the evil powers of this world and repent of your sin?

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace and promise to serve him as your Lord in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations and races?

Questions for Reflection:

  • What do each of these promises mean for you?
  • How do they tie in with our basic definitions and understanding of impeachment?

Social Principles:

Social Princples and the Social Creed:

Taking an active stance in society is nothing new for followers of John Wesley. He set the example for us to combine personal and social piety. Ever since predecessor churches to United Methodism flourished in the United States, we have been known as a denomination involved with people’s lives, with political and social struggles, having local to international mission implications. Such involvement is an expression of the personal change we experience in our baptism and conversion.

The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other ‘mind-makers-up’ that exist in our society.”

Excerpt from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

Social Princples: The Political Community:

There is lots of material in our social principles around justice and truth, the link in the Resources section will take you to what we believe about the political community and our role in fighting for justice.

While our allegiance to God takes precedence over our allegiance to any state, we acknowledge the vital function of government as a principal vehicle for the ordering of society. Because we know ourselves to be responsible to God for social and political life, we declare the following relative to governments:

You might look specifically at our understandings in the following areas:

1. Basic Freedoms and Human Rights
2. Political Responsibilities
3. Church and State Relations
4. Freedom of Information
5. Civil Obedience and Civil Disobedience


Questions for Reflection:

  • How do our social principles and understandings shape our understanding of impeachment?
  • How do they shape our involvement in impeachment? The political system?

What does the Bible say about truth and justice?

Scriptures:

The following scriptures speak about Gods truth and Gods justice.

 

With what shall I approach the Lord and bow down to the Lord on high? Should I come before him with entirely burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with many torrents of oil? Should I give my oldest child for my crime; the fruit of my body for the sin of my Spirit? He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6.8 (CEB)

Defying and denying the Lord, turning away from our God, planning oppression and revolt, muttering lying words conceived in our minds. Justice is pushed aside; righteousness stands far off, because truth has stumbled in the public square and honesty cant enter. Truth is missing: anyone turning from evil is plundered. The Lord looked and was upset at the absence of justice.Isaiah 59.13-15 (CEB)

You were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice and truth. Therefore, test everything to see whats pleasing to the Lord.Ephesians 5.8-10 (CEB)

Questions for Reflection:

  • How do these scriptures relate to our understanding of impeachment and what the UMC believes?
  • How do they enhance or take away from our understanding?
  • How do they change how we look at the political process of impeachment and our role as Christians?

 

Final Thoughts:

As Christians, what do you think our call is in terms of impeachment?

How does a more basic understanding of faith, justice and impeachment change what is going on in the world for you today?

How have your beliefs around faith, justice and impeachment stayed the same?

What is one thing you are taking away in terms of faith, justice and impeachment?

 

Resources:

The history behind Impeachment in the Constitution: https://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Impeachment/

7 Steps of Impeachment: http://cvhs-teacher.com/cassidy/govt15/Executive/ProcessofImpeachment.htm

Social Principles and the Social Creed: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/social-principles-social-creed

Social Principles: The Political Community: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/political-community

Regardless of your level with in the Imagine Dragon fanbase, people all across the world are familiar with their powerful alternative rock mega-hits that tap into the deepest human desires and experiences. With lyrics like “I’ll bet my life on you” and “you made me a believer,” their songs are rich with themes at the center of Christianity. This communion service was written with permission to weave their music with communion around Gods call to us to love well.

Love Well
A Communion Service based on the music of Imagine Dragons
Written By Rev. Melissa Rynders for Youth 2019

  1. Sing Believer by Imagine Dragons

Reader: We all need to feel and know God’s love. So much of what surrounds us everyday is the uncertainty of what it means to live in the world. The sadness, the sorrow, the pain, the moments of grief and death that are everywhere. Broken down, built up, we are formed into believers. We forget that before Jesus’ death and resurrection, there was a time of celebration and triumph and LOVE, as Jesus entered the city. So together we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, LOVE riding in on a donkey as the crowd cried out Hosanna! You made me a believer! Hosanna!

Responsive Reading: (Based on Romans 12.9-17)

Reader: Our scripture reminds us, Love others well and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first.

People: You break us down, You build us up. We are Believers.

Reader: Do not slack in your faithfulness and hardwork. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, devote yourselves to prayer.

People: My life, my love, my drive, came from pain. You make me a believer.

Reader: Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.

People: By the grace of fire and flames, You break us down, You build us up, You make us believers.

2. Sing Walking the Wire by Imagine Dragons

Reader: To “Love Well” is the ultimate goal. It is what we are searching for,  but too often the Love that God has to offer through Jesus gets lost in the brokenness that we feel. This brokenness has been felt since the beginning of time. People have been crying out to the Lord for safety, courage, strength, and love for as long as we can remember. People have also been crying out in pain, sadness, and grief, asking God to help them walk the wire of love and life. We prepare our hearts to feel the wind in our hair, feel the rush in the air, to walk the wire of God’s never ending love as we hear these words from Spoken Word Artist Rev. Dale Fredrickson.

The Weight of Love- Written by Rev. Dale Fredrickson

3. Sing Release by Imagine Dragons

Reader: Romans 12 continues, “If people mistreat or malign you, bless them. Always speak blessings, not curses. If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead embrace common people and ordinary tasks. Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. If it is within your power, make peace with yourself and with people.”

One of the disciples struggled to make peace with himself and with those whom he considered to be his community. From Matthew 26.14-16 we hear,  “Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Isacariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I turn Jesus over to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on he was looking for an opportunity to turn him in.”

Why did Judas do it? It probably wasn’t because he needed the money, he managed all the funds for the disciples and they all took care of each other and the community around them. It probably wasn’t because he was seeking attention and just wanted someone to notice him. Maybe Judas himself didn’t know exactly why he did what he did, but in the end, he did betray the Son of God. Perhaps what Judas was really searching for was God’s love. Judas had heard Jesus talk countless times about the love that God sent to the world through Jesus. Judas knew of and experienced brokenness and yet he was still longing, still searching for the place that God had in his life. We all have moments where we feel like Judas, where we long to know that God is present even when we feel like God is no where near. In many ways, Judas, like us, often wants the opportunity to start over, to come clean, to come alive once again in a God who loves us know matter what. Oh Lord, It is Time to begin.

4. Sing It’s Time by Imagine Dragons

Prayer of Confession: 

Leader: Life giving God,
Can you hear me?
Can you heal me?
Can you free me?
When words don’t come only sighs and groans,
Defeated by these diverse and daunting stones,
They press and push,
They tweak and pull,
They clog and cut.
Tearing muscles, squeezing soul, breaking bones.

ALL:  Life-Giving God,
Can you hear me?
Can you heal me?
Can you free me?
Sighs and groans, stones and bones, familiar you are.

Sing It’s time Chorus

Leader: Can you hear me?
Can you heal me?
Can you free me?
One by one,
Take these stones,
Mend these groans,
Heal these bones.

ALL: Life-Giving God,
Come near to me.
Heal me,
Hear me,
Free me.

Sing It’s Time Chorus

Reader: We are invited to the table where we come to know and experience God and to LOVE WELL. Where we no longer have to search because we know that God is present with us in the bread and the cup. Where we know that God invites us to start over and over again, each new day. Tonight we come to the table, knowing that we have been LOVED WELL and that we are called to continually LOVE WELL in return.

Communion- Bishop Johnson doing ASL throughout

Pastor: God be with you.

People: And also with you.

Pastor: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Pastor: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People: It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Pastor: Blessed are you, God of all creation,
            source of all mercies,
            fount of love beyond all measure,
It is fitting and right to give you thanks and praise,
            and to adore you with grateful hearts and voices.
For wondrously you have created heaven and earth.
Hovering in gracious care over all that you have made.
You formed us as your image of love in the world.
Yet even more wondrously, when we distorted your image
            you called us back again and again,
                        forgiving us,
                        delivering us from captivity to sin and death,
                        feeding, healing, reconciling, making covenant,
                        and setting before us the way which leads to life.
Therefore, with your people in all ages, in communion with the saints,
            and the whole company of heaven,
            we join the glad song of unceasing praise

Sing Walking the Wire Chorus

Pastor: On the night he Loved Well for us and for the world,
            at the table with those who would desert and deny him,
            he took bread, gave it to his disciples, saying:
                        “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
                        Do this in remembrance of me.”
When supper had ended, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples saying:
            “Drink from this, all of you;
            for this my cup of the new covenant,
            poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins,
            do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Therefore, remembering Christ’s life of ministry and love, his suffering, death, and resurrection, his ascending to glory and his abiding presence through the power of your Holy Spirit, we come in praise and thanksgiving with these gifts of your love, as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Sing Walking the Wire Chorus

Pastor: Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here in Christ’s name,
            and upon these gifts, and so feed us with his grace that, in union with Christ,
            we may become a loving offering to you.
Transform us into the image and likeness of Christ,
            that we may faithfully love others in his name,
            and look forward to the final feast
            in which all shall be gathered as one at your table.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory and blessing is yours, Almighty God, now and forever.

Sing Walking the Wire Chorus

Pastor: As we have been together this week, a community formed with the intention to learn how to Love Well and live that love in our everyday lives, we come together once again, this time at the table of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, reminded that this table is a table where all who know and Love God Well are welcome to come and to feast at this table. You are invited to come and to feast together at the Love Well station that is closest to you in the arena, our volunteers will help to direct you to that closest Love Well. God’s greatest gifts of love are ready for the people God loves well. 

Sharing the Bread and Cup– band plays song during the serving of communion and fills time as necessary.

5. Sing I’ll Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons

Prayer After Communion:

Reader: “Love others well and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first.” (Romans 12.9-10)

As we have come together to the table, we are reminded that all that Jesus requires of us is our hearts, and our ability to LOVE WELL. There is not a long list of things we must do or be, Jesus just wants us. We don’t need to promise not to deny him, like Peter, or to not betray him, like Judas. We need only to love and love well, the way that Jesus calls us to love. When we love well, we rise up, we look for change, we face our fears, we meet strangers. We rise. We rise up and we love well.

6. Sing Rise Up by Imagine Dragons