WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Primarily, Christian love is gentleness. In other words, it is self-restraint. It is the ability and the power to check or to hold under mastery those natural tendencies of self-assertion which come boiling up out of our hearts. It is keeping pride and fretfulness and malice down. It is fairness of judgement. It is a kindly allowance for the mistakes of the other man. It is consideration for the feelings of people. That is love.
Bishop Arthur J. Moore
The title of this sermon is “The Credentials of a Life Lived for Him” and it is taken from Galatians 6:17: “…for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Bishop Moore states that the three credentials of a life lived for Jesus are obedience, love, and sacrifice, and he ends the sermon by asking if we have marks from a life lived for Him. This sermon could be given just as easily today as it was 75 years ago. What’s Old Is New Again.
Bishop Moore wrote not only for the people of his time, but for all time. He excelled in going beyond the news of his day, both good and bad, and seeing things as universal and timeless. And, make no mistake, there was news in his day. Between the year he was licensed to preach in 1909 and his death in 1973, the United States experienced World War I, the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, The Stock Market crash, the Dust Bowl, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Women’s Rights movement, and the Civil Rights movement.
However, Bishop Moore looked beyond these daily struggles to speak to the qualities that held his Methodist movement together: obedience, love, and sacrifice. It didn’t matter what the members of his church faced, they could only and always triumph with their faith and the love of Jesus. This same faith and love will see us, and all future generations, through whatever trials and tribulations await. We just have to believe.
May we use the Ministry of Memory as it should be used and allow Bishop Moore to speak to us as clearly in 2021 as he did in 1935. Let us not be overcome by the struggles we are presented with this year, whether they are a global pandemic, political upheaval, or schisms within our denomination. Speak universal truths which will carry the members of the South Georgia Conference through today, tomorrow, and beyond. Perform actions that show our obedience, love, and sacrifice to the Lamb of God, Emanuel, the Christ. Let us be a shining example to future generations of how to triumph amongst tribulation.
Anne Packard serves as Conference Historian and director of the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum on St. Simons Island. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.