“America this is your mother speaking and what I want to tell you is take your children to church – establish them in a faith community – allow other Christians to help raise them in the faith – read the Bible with them – teach them the two greatest commandments: to love God with all their heart and mind and soul and strength and to love their neighbors as themselves and then live out these commandments with them because what our children need more than anything – what our world needs more than anything – is to learn the importance of love. There is far too much hate in America – too much violence – too much ugliness in the world and the only way we are going to be able to change that is to learn to love.
We must teach our children to love with their words, their attitudes and their actions. It is not enough for us to say we love all people, we must model it for our children by being kind to all people, by helping those in need, by standing up for the underdog, by working for social justice – by teaching our kids to play with the kid sitting alone on the playground – by showing them how to peacefully stand up to the bully – by helping them be the kid who befriends everyone – by serving alongside of them in soup kitchens, food pantries, community ministries and with the homeless so they can see that not everyone lives like we do – by helping them keep their eyes and hearts open to see the hurting people around them.
I am a United Methodist Pastor, as Rebecca told you and I live in the Storytelling Capital of the World so I can’t help myself – I have to share a story with you.
There is a story about a little girl who, on the way home from church, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.”
The mother said, “Oh! Why is that?”
“Well,” the little girl replied, “he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?”
“Yes, that’s true,” the mother replied.
“He also said that God lives within us. Is that true too?”
Again the mother replied, “Yes.”
“Well,” said the girl. “If God is bigger than us and God lives in us, wouldn’t God show through us?”
We need to teach our children to let God show through them. We need to live like Christ taught us to live – showing kindness, mercy and love to all people. We need to teach them to make an impact wherever God plants them. We need to be sure they know that one person really can make a difference when they let the love of God show through them. ”
Karen Marie Lane was born May 8, 1970 in Bethpage, New York. She graduated Stissing Mountain High School in 1988; Radford University in 1992 with a BA in Liberal Studies; and Duke Divinity School in 1995 with a Master of Divinity and 1996 with a Master of Religious Education. In 1995 she was ordained a Deacon in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church and in 1998 she was ordained an Elder. Karen has served as a local church pastor since 1996. She is currently the pastor of Jonesborough United Methodist Church. She is the president of the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association whose main focus is their food pantry; is on the District Board of Ordained Ministry; and is the co-leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. Karen is married to Joe and together they have two children: JJ who is eleven years old and Makayla who is nine.