On this inauguration day of the 45th president of the United States, may we pause in prayer for President Donald Trump. The mantle of leadership has been placed upon him. Our success as a nation rests on his success as a leader. May God’s spirit be with him, giving him wisdom to lead in difficult times, compassion to lead so the most vulnerable are cared for, grace to withstand conflict and criticism, and vision to bring us together as a country so we live into the highest of values we hold most dear.
We all have a part to play as we restore a broken nation to wholeness. I believe we in the Mountain Sky Area have a unique gift to offer in this moment. In 1992, a group gathered in Aspen, Colorado, in the recognition that the purpose of education is not only to impart knowledge, but also to impart character.
The Aspen Declaration says, in part:
"... The present and future well-being of our society requires an involved, caring citizenry with good moral character ... People do not automatically develop good moral character; therefore, conscientious efforts must be made to help young people develop the values and abilities necessary for moral decision making and conduct ... Effective character education is based on core ethical values which form the foundation of democratic society, in particular, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring, justice and fairness, and civic virtue and citizenship." (www.waarden.org/studie/concepten/history.html)
I believe these values can help us in the living of these days.
Respect: We must have respect for our leaders, even when we disagree with them; we must respect others, even when we don’t understand their lives;
Responsibility: We must exhibit responsibility in how we live our lives, knowing that our choices impact the well-being of other people, and creation itself;
Trustworthiness: We must live in ways that communicate to others that they are safe with us; we will protect their dignity and work shoulder-to-shoulder when their lives are threatened;
Caring: We must let love guide all we do;
Justice and Fairness: We must seek to ensure that "justice for all" is not just a slogan, but ingrained in the way we treat each other and make laws;
Civic virtue: We must live in a way that all we do in our personal life enhances community, its well-being and the well-being of others;
Citizenship: We must remain engaged even when we want to walk away. A democracy requires the participation of everyone.
As United Methodists, may we who follow Jesus commit ourselves not only to these values, but to extending the love of God in all we do. In this moment of political change and a new beginning, may our actions mirror the One who calls us to love God and love others as we love ourselves.
Bishop Karen Oliveto