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Biblical Hope, Hypocrisy, and Our Pride Flag

Last weekend was a great weekend for NBUMC as we had our first annual Blessing of the Bikes after worship. Not to pile onto Mother’s day, next year the event will be

held the last Sunday in April. We had 13 bikes presented for blessing, as

well as several riders who worshipped with us. And hot dogs…oy vey, did we have hot dogs. Thanks to all who helped, especially Linda & Gail Barrier, who conceived of the event.

I also had an interesting conversation last weekend regarding the Rainbow flag flying in our front yard. This person pointed out the flag and allowed as to how we were hypocrites for flying it. A hypocrite is one who is an “actor,” or

one for whom actions do not line up with values. I asked my friend what they meant by indicating we were hypocritical. They said that they were familiar with the UMC’s position on human sexuality and that it was anything but open and affirming. They went on to say that they knew a change in official position has been promised for many years. They declared that they have given up on the UMC as never changing. For us to fly the flag is simply being hypocritical.

As I continued to visit with them, I realized that they were exactly right. Flying the flag in front of NBUMC is hypocritical—if one sees it from a place of hopelessness. Hope: what a strange, misunderstood, and wonderful concept. All too often in today’s culture, hope is a nebulous concept, assigning a low probability occurrence a high probability of happening. “Gee, I hope I get a pony for my birthday.” “Boy, I hope our culture will get it together.” “I’m pretty sure this is the year the Royals win the pennant.” Well, you get the picture.

Biblical hope, especially as pointed out by Paul in the fifth chapter of Romans, is a totally different animal. It is an unshakable belief that God’s purposes will ultimately be worked out. In chapter eight, Paul writes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us (Ro. 8.18 NRSV).” By keeping his eye on glory, he is able to endure whatever suffering comes his way. That is hope, pure and simple.

Back to my friend. On the one hand, they are right. We are being hypocritical. But, I reminded them of something I believe with every fiber in my being. Change happens with a new vision. Our flag doesn’t reflect current reality at least as it pertains to the UMC. But it sure as heck points to the vision that will drive a new reality, one of openness, inclusion, grace, and love.

In the meantime, NBUMC lives “as if.” We live as if our dream is a reality. And by God’s grace it is. So, we live into the messy reality of the future. Our flag is a symbol of that reality, waiting to come to full bloom, like “the whole creation groaning in labor pains." (Romans 8.22)

Dare to vision. Dare to dream. Speaking of dreams, boy, did Peter have a big one in Joppa.

See you Sunday,


To respond directly to Pastor Paul, email him at, or contact him at 816-724-0080

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