In Dante's poem "The Inferno," the pilgrim confesses:
"Midway on our life's journey, I found myself
In dark woods, the right road lost."
All of us as individuals may resonate with experiences of losing our way. Institutions, even faith communities, can lose their way from time to time.
In this season of Advent, I invite us to reflect on the way of love incarnated in Jesus Christ. Deeply rooted in scripture and since its founding in 1708, the Church of the Brethren has boldly declared that war and other acts of violence are contrary to the nature and will of God. We believe that threats of direct or structural violence, whether political or churchly; conditions like poverty, racism, or sexism; and attitudes that breed hatred and intolerance toward individuals or groups all deny God's spirit of reconciling love
I therefore invite the church to reflect on lost paths and to join Bethany Theological Seminary, as an educational institution serving the Church of the Brethren, in seeking ways to embody the fullness of God's shalom—mishpat (justice), shalom (peace), hesed (compassion/loyalty)—and Christ’s peace in our households, our congregations, throughout the denomination, and in the world.